So you need to write a book index….
Your humble blogger has crossed all the t’s, dotted all the i’s, and sent in the page proofs for Theories of International Politics and Zombies. It’s now done perfect, so no one e-mail me about some new zombie discovery, cause I can’t change a thing about it now [Did the zombie ants get in? — ...
Your humble blogger has crossed all the t's, dotted all the i's, and sent in the page proofs for Theories of International Politics and Zombies. It's now done perfect, so no one e-mail me about some new zombie discovery, cause I can't change a thing about it now [Did the zombie ants get in? -- ed. Just by the skin of their brrrraaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiinnns, yes.].
Your humble blogger has crossed all the t’s, dotted all the i’s, and sent in the page proofs for Theories of International Politics and Zombies. It’s now
done perfect, so no one e-mail me about some new zombie discovery, cause I can’t change a thing about it now [Did the zombie ants get in? — ed. Just by the skin of their brrrraaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiinnns, yes.].
The most important thing I did over the past month was to draft the index. I suspect that many of this blog’s readers are aspiring book-writers — so here is the most useful tip I can provide on indexing a work of non-fiction: For academics, the index is the third-most important part of your book. Assuming you want the great, the good, and everyone else to read your magnum opus, learn this fact well. Scholarly readers will usually flip quickly through a book’s introduction, acknowledgments, index and bibliography to determine if it’s worth buying.
Why are they flipping through the index? Well, it’s usually for one of the following reasons: A) they want to see if their name appears; B) they want to see if their rivals’ names appear; C) they are only interested in a particular part of the book, and the index is a more useful guide than the table of contents.
You might think of the index as a chore that just needs to be outsourced to a
lackey illegal immigrant research assistant or professional indexer. If so, then you risk not being responsible for a part of the book that will be thumbed through the most.
In light of this fact, try to be moderately throrough in your index. If you mention a name in the text, put it in the index. Do the same with conceptual ideas. The more inclusive the index, the more interest the book will garner. Consult The Chicago Manual of Style and do it yourself. It’s a draining exercise, but for your first book, well worth the effort.
As an example of what not to do, here is a small sample of what’s in the index to Theories of International Politics and Zombies:
anarchy, 33-34, 47. See also post-apocalypse.
balancing, 34, 39-40
bioterrorism, 4-5, 18, 27, 89
cannibals, 11, 67, 125n14
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, 54n
Chucky doll, lameness of, 6
college students, 5; similarity between zombies and, 75-6
constructivism, 67-76, 110-11
Coulton, Jonathan, 50-51
Dawn of the Dead, 25, 28, 36, 52, 69-70, 82, 83, 90, 93, 99, 105
deadites. See zombies.
Dead Alive, 24, 25, 82
differently animated. See zombies.
disasters, 1, 18, 38, 57, 71-72, 112
feedback loop. See paradox.
Hirschman, Albert, 113-14
human lobby, realist warnings about, 45n
Murray, Bill, 74
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 23n, 61
pandemics, 1, 18, 37-38, 50, 55-6, 59, 100
paradox. See feedback loop.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies, 58
Resident Evil, 2, 23, 25, 83, 93. See also Umbrella Corporation.
Shaun of the Dead, 51-2, 73, 74, 78, 99
Sun Tzu, 13
Thriller, evil of, 25-26
Thucydides, 13, 38
Tragedy of the Commons, 48-9
Tragedy of the Zombies, 51-2
Ugly Americans, 3
vampires: 6-9, 13, 120n19; suckiness of, 9
World War Z, 25, 28, 29, 38, 39, 41, 55, 57, 65, 73, 91-5
zombie-industrial complex, 83-4
Zombie Strippers, 23n, 83
[Apologies to loyal readers sick of zombie posts: This will be my very last zombie post about this for the few months… right up until the book comes out, when I will put the rest of this country’s media whores to shame, I will be prostituting this book so much.]
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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