Professional Thoughts

Hand-drawn figure of the cross-references following from the metatopic trade. Drawn in the style of a family tree.

Cross-Reference Structure

Cross-references are, in the end, a balancing act. Too many and the reader is caught in a sticky spider’s web, unable to move forward due to the plethora of options without clear guidance. Too few, and the reader is attempting to climb a cargo net at summer camp, feet constantly slipping through holes while they struggle to find their way in an index that doesn’t provide enough guidance.

5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Indexer

Finally, you can see the finish line. You’ve spent months if not years writing your book, sent it through multiple rounds of editing, from the developmental to copyediting, and now it’s in the final stage of proofreading before being sent to the printer. All that’s left is to review the proofs and append that index. No sweat. You know what you wrote, how hard can it be to run a quick search in Word for the key ideas and alphabetize them? Heck, even a grad student can do it! 

You could do that, but both you and your publisher are likely to be unhappy with the end result.