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Do-It-Yourself Indexing

By Peggy Hazelwood
Posted Monday, January 3, 2005

Indexing a book is a science in itself. I have a friend who is a professional indexer, but if you have written a book and need an index created, you can do it yourself. And adding an index gives your book or ebook a professional edge, a bonus that the reader will appreciate.

I indexed my nonfiction ebook, From Old to Gold: How to Start and Run an Antiques Business. Here's how I created a "quick and dirty" index for my book:

1. I started by looking at the indexes of other similar how to books. I checked out which words they list in their index to get an idea of which words are relevant for my book.

2. I then went through my book, making a list of words that would be relevant to readers in their search for specific topics. The list included words like antique malls; appraiser; art; collectors; dates, of antiques; styles, of antiques; trends. Decide how detailed you want your index to be.

3. Next, after my book was ready to go, that is, all final layout was finished so no page numbers would change, I searched my book (in Microsoft Word, click on Edit, Find, then type in each word you want to add to your index, one at a time). I then wrote down each page number where each word appeared in my book.

4. I did this process for each word then typed in the index as the last section of my book. I listed the word then the page numbers where the word appeared. I did not get too detailed,
but I listed enough general words that someone can easily find a topic by using my index.

This is the simplified version of how to create an index. There is software you can use or professional indexers, but this process worked for me and it can work for you too!

About the Author
Peggy Hazelwood runs the Albooktross Electronic Bookstore, (, where you can find ebooks from A to Z in categories like How To, Self Help, Writing/Publishing, and so much more.


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