On my desk


29 March 2024

Even though I specialize in science and medicine indexing, I truly am a generalist. Trade books for the general public make up a large percentage of my indexing business. Variety keeps the indexing interesting.

I just downloaded the PDF for one of my next indexing projects, a book about boomerangs. I am almost positive I’ve thrown one as a kid. In fact, my parents probably have one stored in their basement from my childhood. What I am sure about is that if I did throw one, it didn’t fly back to me. That would have been memorable, especially for a kid who couldn’t throw a baseball far or straight!

As I sit down to start the index, two questions come to mind:

  1. What’s the secret to the reversal of flight for the boomerang–is it in the throw or the design of the boomerang?
  2. Do they make left-handed boomerangs?

I know—neither of these questions seems index-related, but this is how I often prime myself for the indexing process. I have read the book blurb from the editor or author and usually the description on the publisher’s site, like the potential reader picking up the book for the first time and reading the back: What’s the book about? Do I want to read this book?

In other words, I am putting myself in the reader’s shoes. And as a left-handed person who grew up in a right-handed world, I’m hoping to find the answer to question #2. As for question #1, don’t you know want to know the secret to how the boomerang carves its path through the air?

Here’s to learning new things. And maybe becoming inspired enough to dig through the old toys and sports equipment to find that boomerang and try again. Or, maybe not.