Anyone can create an index, right? Not exactly. It is true that anyone with the right software can create a concordance for a book. However, this does not mean that anyone can or should create an index for your publication.

Here's why. A professionally created, custom-made index offers your readers more than a concordance, which is only an alphabetized list of words at the end of a book. The custom-made index is an intuitive map for your readers; it helps readers navigate through your book quickly and efficiently. This is because a professional indexer anticipates the needs of your readers in a way that concordance generating software simply cannot do.

Trust a professional indexer. After reading your book, I can create a custom-made index to your specifications with my professional indexing software. This index will give your book even greater appeal in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. The casual reader and serious researcher alike will return to your book again and again because it contains meaningful information that is easy to locate in its custom-made index.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gratis books: I love 'em!

The Merriam Webster online dictionary gives the following definition for gratis: without charge or recompense: FREE.

What does the word gratis have to do with indexing books? Several of my clients send me gratis copies of books I've indexed for them once the book is published. I never tire of this thoughtful gesture.

Sure, I've already read through the book multiple times; it's practically memorized by the end of each job. Therefore, it's not likely that I will read the book again. Why then do I appreciate receiving gratis copies of books I have indexed?

First, gratis books are great visual reminders. They act as "bookshelf trophies," reminding me of a job well done. Their presence on my bookshelf encourages me to fine-tune my indexing skills even more.

Gratis books are also great quick reference tools for me. Not every indexing question can be answered by a publisher's "Style Guide for Indexers" or The Chicago Manual of Style, and Amazon's "Look inside" feature is only a little helpful at best. Sometimes I just need to thumb through a book I've already indexed so that I can figure out the answer to my question. There are no emails to write or phone calls to make. The bottom line is gratis books save time, especially when working with regular clients.

Finally, who doesn't love getting things that are free?

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