What the Customer Wants: Indexing
After I wrote my first article for Games Quarterly Magazine ["What? An Index?", Issue #31
, reprinted in The Lady Gamer, January 2005], a friend and fellow gamer sent me an e-mail, “Just to say, nice piece on indexing RPG books
in Games Quarterly. Now do you think you could persuade [game company] to put indexes in their books...?”
I won’t tell you which gaming company it is, but what if it’s your company? My friend went on to write, “To be honest, until recently the last book I bought from them was [game name] from five years ago. That did not have an index. I have a copy of their recent RPG, but I do not expect it to have an index either. I will point that out in the review, but to what I believe will be little avail.”
Can you really afford for your customers to wait five years between buying products? Will they even give you a second chance in this tight economy? Do not give consumers a reason not to buy your products. Give ‘em what they want: a usable index.
Even if you cannot include the index in the printed book, you can include one on your website. I just wrote the index for Kobolds Ate My Baby, Super Deluxx Edition (9th Level Games and Dork Storm Press). The book is only 48 pages, so a paper index wasn’t a viable option. The online index not only utilized the most accurate final pagination of the book, but also didn’t interfere with the printing schedule.
If you have the time in your production schedule, and the space in your product, I highly recommend including an index. Earlier in the year, I wrote the index for Monte Cook Presents: Iron Heroes (Malhavoc Press); and Jannica Thales, a reviewer at RPG.net, said, “Layout is good as is the index and table of contents.” That’s the kind of review you want for your product because it will encourage gamers to buy.