Authors and indexes

Some authors feel that they are the best people to index their own books, as they are the experts on the subject matter and familiar with the books’ structure. However, unless an author is experienced in indexing, this is often unwise. It takes skill, experience and considerable time to produce a really professional index, which will enhance the quality of the book and its potential sales. The index is often the first point of reference for the reader/reviewer, and if poorly constructed can give a negative impression of the book’s content. It is advisable to hire a professional indexer either directly, or through the book’s publisher.

Download this leaflet for authors to read more about the advantages of commissioning a professional indexer. Our blog also has a series of posts on the process of finding and working with an indexer.

There is more useful advice for authors in blog postings by our members on their own sites. Paula Clarke Bain wrote  a guide for authors working with indexers. Melanie Gee describes a process for checking an index. Dr Tanya Izzard has written two guides, one is particularly aimed at academic authors, especially those early in their careers. The other discusses tips to consider when writing a book which help ease the indexing process later.