If your book is any kind of reference book, including cookbooks, you may wish to include an index. An index is an alphabetized list of terms which provides the page number or links to the words in the main text.
Unless you are indexing a proper noun, the index entry begins with a lower-case letter. If the entry is an acronym or abbreviation, spell it out in parentheses.
Try to use concrete nouns as index entries and be as specific as possible. For instance, in a book about herbal remedies, chamomile is a better entry than herbs with flowers.
When you want to cross-reference an entry with another use See also and list the alternate entry. Therefore after the entry chamomile, you might have See alsoherbs for sleep which lets the reader know that additional information about chamomile can be found under the entry herbs for sleep.
After the entry name, list the page numbers that the term can be found. Use a comma to separate the entry name and page numbers.Page numbers should be separated by commas and listed in numerical order. If you are including a page range, use a hyphen between the first and last page.
chamomile, 12, 36, 58-60. See also herbs for sleep
You can include tables and images in your indexing. To let the reader know that the page number refers to an image or table rather than text, then use italics or bold to differentiate the number. Make sure to include a note at the beginning of the index to the effect that “Page numbers in italics refer to images.”
If you have more specific terms under a general heading, indent the sub-categories.
Front and back matter do not need to be included in an index. Indexing is primarily for the main body of text in your book.
The index should be the very last writing you do for your book. You should wait to create an index until after you’ve done your final proofreading and editing. The reason for this is that changes in the text of your book will impact the index page numbers or links.
If you are not sure whether your book needs an index or not, then check other books similar to yours. Do any of them have indexes? Does it benefit the reader? How is it set up? What types of terms are included?
Also ask yourself if you have about 20 primary subjects worth indexing in your book or not. If you don’t, you probably don’t need an index at all.
The American Society for Indexing has an excellent resource about indexing that you can download here. You can find detailed instructions on how to create an index using Microsoft Word here. Pressbooks also gives instructions on how to set up an index with their platform here.
Similar to front matter, back matter includes the things that are found at the end of the book. The sections in the back matter are often supplementary to the main book. Which sections are found there often depends on the type of the book and what, if any, additional information a reader might need.
You might these sections in the following order:
Epilogue or Conclusion
An epilogue is found mostly in fiction books. This is a short section that concludes the end of the story. It might take immediately after the events of the story or there could be a leap of years or decades. It can also be used to segue into another series of events that are covered in a sequel to the book.
This section could be called a conclusion. A conclusion is an epilogue for mostly non-fiction books. It wraps up any loose ends the book doesn’t address. It might talk about what happened to the people mentioned in the book later or if the events in the book predated or caused other historically significant occurrences.
Afterword or Postscript
An afterword can be a discussion on how the book came to be written It might talk about a specific event that triggered the author to begin writing or the inspiration behind the topic, or even how the information was researched.
If the book has had previous editions, the afterword might be a commentary on why the book is being reissued. There might also be commentary about the cultural or historical impact this book made, especially if this is a public domain book.
A postscript is an informal afterword, often directly addressing the reader. Similar to a P.S. in a letter, a postscript will give just a little bit of information that wasn’t included in the main body of the text. This term comes from the Latin post scriptum which means “written after.” This section might also be called an Author’s Note.
Acknowledgements or List of Contributors
If the acknowledgments are not at the beginning of a book, they may be found at the end in the back matter. Here’s where the author can sincerely thank anyone who helped, inspired, or financially assisted the writing and publishing of the book.
If anyone contributed to the book, this is where their information would be listed in a section entitled List of Contributors. This section is more than a simple thank you. Professional information about the contributor should be included, such as books or professional articles authored as well as educational or professional experience.
Permissions or Credits
If permission was needed to include, song lyrics, poems, quotations or even entire chapters, this is the section where an author gives credit where credit is due.
Discussion or Reading Group Guide
If the book was designed for use in high school or college courses, the author may choose to include a section that lists questions about the book for group discussion. This might include questions about the theme, historical significance, characters or symbology.
If the author believes that certain articles or texts should be read in their entirety by the reader, then he or she might include a list of suggested reading. The order may be alphabetical or thematic. It should list at least the full title and author of the text being recommended. It may list a link to the article or a way to purchase the book.
Appendix or Addendum
Additional information about the book might be contained in the appendix, also known as addendum. Updates to information, corrections to earlier material and references for further reading could be found here.
Notes or End Notes
If there were references in the book marked by a superscript or number in parenthesis, the additional information is found in the end notes section. These are arranged by chapter in the order they appear.
The glossary is a collection of terms from the book. It is sort of like a small dictionary designed specifically for the book that it is in. The words are alphabetized and defined. This section is sometimes called an idioticon, vocabulary or clavis.
A bibliography can also be called works cited, resources, sources or references. This is a list of books, articles, web sites or other sources that have been consulted in the creation of the book. An annotated bibliography gives publishing information, a text description, and how it is relevant to the book. A bibliography can be alphabetized or organized by theme, topic, or chapter.
The index is also an alphabetized list of terms, similar to the glossary. However, instead of giving a definition, the location of the words in the main text is indicated. This is especially useful in reference books since it provides a single spot that lists every place the specific term is used in the text.
About the Author or Biographical Note
Written in the third person, About the Author highlights information about the writer that readers would find interesting. It is usually just a paragraph or two. It can be serious and establish the credibility of the author on the book’s topic or it can be whimsical and make a personal connection to the reader.
If the book is a reissued version of a public domain book, this section could be entitled Biographical Note. Here there would be information about the life and work of the original author, not the person republishing it.
Other Books by the Author
In this section, books by the same author under the same name and those written under pen names can be mentioned. This section could be done in list format or could include a synopsis of each book.
The colophon appears at the very end of the book. It gives information about the printing and publishing process. It might mention the type of paper, ink or binding used to create the book. The section Note on the Type could be included in this section or separately. It gives information about the font/typeface used in the book, possibly mentioning its characteristics and history.
Assignment: Determine which back matter sections your Blog to Book project needs.
I have used Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for all my books. There are other self-publishing sites out there which may be just as good, however, I am not as familiar with the process and you would do better to get information from an author who has used those publishing sites.
With KDP you can publish an ebook or print book to Amazon in under an hour, depending on the number formatting errors you have. And, if you edit or add sections to your book, all you have to do is upload the manuscript again.
So here’s how it works. You can sign in with your Amazon account here. You do have an Amazon account, don’t you? That will take you to your bookshelf. You’ll see a section that says Create a New Title. I always create my ebook version first because I find there fewer formatting errors for me to fix.
Ebook Book Details
Choose the language your book is written in.
Type in the book title and subtitle if you have one.
If your book is part of a series, you’ll enter that information in this section
If you are creating a new edition of a book, you would include that information next.
Add your name as the Author as you wish it to appear.
Then list any contributors you would like to appear in your title and on the cover. This is a little different than your contributors’ page in the book itself.
Your book description should be a short blurb intended to get people interested in your book. When this is displayed on the book page on Amazon, only the first few lines will be visible without having to click on Read more, so you’ll want to concentrate on making the introduction reader worthy.
The next category is Publishing Rights. As this is a Blog to Book Project, you will choose “ I own the copyright and I hold the necessary publishing rights.” Unless you take your blog posts down before uploading your manuscript, you may get a notification from Amazon saying that the content of your book is already freely available on the web. That’s perfectly fine. You just have to resubmit the manuscript verifying that you are the author of those freely available posts.
You should spend some time listing the most relevant keywords next. Amazon gives some great tips for choosing the best keywords here. In general, you want to pick keywords that a reader might use to find your book’s topic. So if you write about zebras bred in captivity you might include zebra, zebras in zoos, zebra babies, animals bred in captivity, zoo babies and so on. Doing searches on Amazon for books similar to your own will also help you decide which keywords will get you the most readers.
You can choose two categories to help classify your book. Spend some time looking through the lists. Do another search and see what categories those books that are like yours are using. Try to be as specific as possible. Nonfiction > Self-Help > Death, Grief, Bereavement is more specific than just Nonfiction and a better category for your book about how you coped with the loss of your beloved pet.
Age and Grade Range
If you like, you can choose an age or grade range. Doing so is completely optional, but if you think it would help readers find your book, certainly do so. If you aren’t sure about the grade range, remember Hemminway will give you an approximate level for free.
The last section on this page is to choose whether your book is ready for publishing or if you would like to generate some pre-order publicity hype first. It’s entirely up to you. Then choose Save and Continue to move along to the next step.
Once the new page opens up, you’ll see a check mark next to the work Complete if you have correctly added all the required fields.
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Digital Rights Management restricts readers from giving their copy of your ebook to someone else. Enabling it doesn’t prohibit someone from lending your ebook to another person for a short period of time or giving a copy of your ebook to someone else as a gift after purchasing.
Upload Ebook Manuscript
If you are sure you’ve done all the formatting correctly and have your ebook saved in one of these formats (.doc, .docx, HTML, MOBI, ePub, RTF, Plain Text, and KPF.) you can upload your ebook now. You can also download Kindle Create to format your book correctly. Doing so might save you some time and frustration in the long run because you just can’t publish until the formatting it right.
Amazon will also do a spell check for you. Since I use a number of Mexican Spanish words in some of my books, sometimes these words get highlighted as misspelled when they aren’t. It doesn’t hurt to double check the words Amazon finds because I guarantee you that no matter how many times you have proofread your manuscript, there are always a few that escape notice.
Kindle eBook Cover
If you have a cover design already, you can upload it at this point. I always use Cover Creator because tech savvy I am not. As we talked about in Judge Your Cover, the options are limited but you are assured that everything is the proper formatting size.
Kindle eBook Preview
Even if you think everything is good to go, you can not continue until you preview your cover and manuscript. There may be image issues, or you may find that one page has a huge amount of white space or some other issue. Amazon highlights certain issues for you to check, does some fiddling with a few things to help you out, but you should go page by page and check how your book looks on a tablet, phone or e-reader.
Kindle eBook ISBN
Kindle eBooks are not required to have an ISBN but if you have one, you can enter it here.
Save and Continue.
Kindle eBook Pricing
KDP Select Enrollment
You can enroll at KDP Select in the first section if you like. Benefits include being able to promote your book with free book promotions or countdown promotions. Drawbacks include not being able to publish your book at any other sites while it is enrolled.
Since you are publishing your blog posts in book form and you hold the copyrights to them, you can choose All Territories (worldwide rights).
Royalty and Pricing
KDP Pricing Support (Beta) will give you an idea of what to charge for your ebook based on the prices of books similar to yours. You can use the figure Amazon provides (they generally know what they are talking about) or you can choose another price.
You can choose either 35% or 70% royalty commission percentage. Based on which you choose, Amazon will give you a minimum-maximum price range for you to select from. You can change the prices in other marketplaces either higher or lower if you like.
If you’d like to offer your ebook for free or at a reduced price to people who buy your print book, you can enroll it in Kindle Matchbook. It’s optional.
If you would like to allow your readers to lend a book to someone else after purchasing it for 14 days, you can enroll in book lending.
Terms & Conditions
If everything looks good after reading the terms and conditions, you can go ahead and click Publish Your Kindle Ebook.
You’ll receive a notification that your book is undergoing review and another email if there is something that needs to be fixed or that the book is available for purchase. You did it!