Indexing Your Manuscript: A Thorough Guide

Indexing Your Manuscript

Indexing is one of the most talked-about topics in the writing industry. Most people are completely clueless about what indexing actually is and its purpose in a book. Indexes are basically found in non-fiction manuscripts where people barely pause to see who composed this edition.


In these modern times, you might find indexes in a book, something like a relic from the past. However, some researchers and authors still rely on the authenticity and guidance provided by the indexes to navigate through thick manuscripts. Therefore, it is significant to mention that book indexing holds an important role in professional book writing tasks.


Indexes are usually found on the back pages of a book with a list of words corresponding to page references directing the readers toward various topics. Indexes are mainly a list of topics in chronological order with subheadings that have occurred at different places within the book. What is more interesting to know is that indexing a book is often outsourced by writers to freelancers. The American Society for indexing is a national trade organization that supports consistent and regular indexing standards and technical writing.

Step-By-Step Guide

The job of a book indexer is certainly not a piece of cake. It is a detail-oriented work that only requires a word processor with a sound work ethic. If you are ready to take on this task on your own, here is a step-by-step guide that will elucidate the indexing process for you:

1. Read the Book Again

The first step is to read the book thoroughly before starting the indexing task. It doesn’t matter if you have already casually gone through the book before because you might want to read through it again. But this time, with a little bit more attention to detail. This will help you get an in-depth overview of the entire manuscript

2. Using Indexing Software

You might consider using software or a tool for indexing. Many software are available for basic word processing. Using the help of indexing software will help you simplify the work in no time.

3. Markers Aid

You might find it helpful to mark up the book you’re working on, be it an eBook or a hard copy. Marking up the text will allow you to quickly look up key terms. You can also make notes of topics you wish to include in the index.

4. Formatting

Before entering the actual indexing task, you might want to take a look at the formatting questions. You need to decide the formatting of cross-references and page numbers. Look for different styles of formatting, such as the Chicago Manual, which will help you in the formatting segment as well as in the book layout.

5. Start Making Index Entries

After getting done with all the above steps, it is time for you to start making entries in the index. Just ensure the inclusion of all the markups and notes from your text in the index.

6. Arrange the Entries

After making the index entries, it is time for you to arrange them in chronological order. This will make your task more organized and easy to read.

Apart from following these steps, you can also gain access to our exclusive video lessons taught by literary maestros. Sign up below and let the questions inside your mind get the answers.

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