“It is easy enough to make an index, as it is to make a broom of odds and ends, as rough as oat straw; but to make an index tied up tight, and that will sweep well into the corners, isn’t so easy.” –John Ruskin
An indexer creates a roadmap to all the pertinent information in your document and arranges it so readers can find what they need quickly and easily. Even if they look up the wrong word!
I have been indexing since 1993—over 600 comprehensive and carefully edited indexes, delivered on time. Contact me for information on indexing scholarly and trade books, textbooks, reference books, periodicals, technical manuals, and corporate literature. A carefully crafted index makes the project you slaved over accessible to your readers. If your roadmap is getting you nowhere, contact me today.
For more information about indexing generally, visit American Society for Indexing
Indexing programs are valuable tools that indexers use, but they do not take the place of a human indexer, who can analyze the text. A computer program can no more write an index than a pencil can write a book.Should I index the book myself?
Many authors enjoy indexing their own books and have a knack for indexing, which is a specialized form of textual analysis and writing. Others don’t. Deciding whether to hire an indexer is a lot like deciding whether to hire a plumber. Your decision will be based on many factors: how much you know about the work, whether you have the time to do the job, whether you enjoy that sort of work, and so on.As a professional indexer, I can lift many of your burdens, because
With a typical book contract, the author pays for the index, whether out of pocket or out of royalties. Many authors apply for and receive grant money to cover the cost of the index.
The fee varies depending on the length and format of the book, the density of the material, and the publisher’s requirements. It would not be unusual, for example, to pay upwards of $4.75 per page (of page proofs) for a moderately dense scholarly book but much less for a cookbook.Does my indexer need to be an expert in the subject of my book?
Although very technical books require an indexer who has some background in the field, most other books do not. I have experience indexing books in a wide variety of fields in the humanities and would be able to apply my analytical and organizational skills to produce a fine index for your book.Once I hire you to index my book, what will my role be?
I may need you to answer questions about technical terms in the book, about any
incomplete names, and so on. You will also have to read the finished index carefully
and make changes if necessary.
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Many authors enjoy indexing their own books and have a knack for indexing, which a specialized form of textual analysis and writing. Others don’t. Deciding whether to hire an indexer is a lot like deciding whether to hire a plumber. Their decision will be based on many factors: how much they know about the work, whether they have the time to do the job, whether they enjoy that sort of work, and so on.
As a professional indexer, I can lift many of your authors’ burdens, because
The fee varies depending on the length and format of the book, the density of the material, and your requirements. It would not be unusual, for example, to pay upwards of $4.75 per page for a moderately dense scholarly book but much less for a cookbook. Some authors apply for and receive grant money to cover the cost of the index.What kinds of books do you index?
My area of specialization is philosophy, but I consider myself a generalist in the humanities. These are just a few of the areas and materials I index:
“This is a beautiful, fine-grained piece of work. Your attention to detail is truly remarkable, and I appreciate how carefully you have read the manuscript.” –Michael G. Lee, author of The German "Mittelweg"
“FYI, it is a plus for me that you now employ others/have indexing associates—I can reach out to just one person and the likelihood that my indexing need can be met is much higher than when I contact a one-person shop.” –Erica Ginsburg, associate managing editor, University of Pennsylvania Press
“Carol, I just finished going through the Write for Life index, and I want to let you know how much I appreciate the beautiful job you did. It is immaculate—there was not a single typo, misspelling, or even comma out of place. I made only three minor changes, and that was more a superstitious gesture to placate the gods of indexing than it was a criticism of your fine work. I’ve read the manuscript four or five times by now, so I could really appreciate your choices, and I did. Your sharp eye and meticulous hand were apparent throughout, and by the time I came to the last entry, I was so filled with appreciation and gratitude that I could have wept. I had to go eat chocolate until I regained my composure. Many, many thanks!” –Julianne Stein, copy editor, Cleveland Clinic Press
“I just want you to know that I think you wrote a beautiful index for Barbara
Benedict’s book Making the Modern Reader.” –Lauren Lepow, Production Editor,
Princeton University Press
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If you have more than just a few pages, you need an index. Reading even a 12-page manual for a fax machine is tedious if you only need to fix a paper jam. Think about it!
What kinds of documents might need an index?
Indexing programs are valuable tools that indexers use, but they do not take the place of a human indexer, who can analyze the text. A computer program can no more write an index than a pencil can write a book.How can indexes help my business?
It has become a standard joke that the average person can’t program the VCR, but it is really no laughing matter. One of the biggest complaints users of technical manuals have is that they can’t find the information they’re looking for. Busy people don’t want to waste time thumbing through manuals or having to make a phone call to get their questions answered. And they shouldn’t have to; the index of the manual should get them right to the information they need, even if they look it up under the wrong word! That can mean the difference between frustrated customers and satisfied ones.
The same holds true for employees. It is certainly a waste of staff hours if your employees must call your human resources office for information that is right there in the benefits manual . . . if only they could find it. Similarly, a training or procedures manual is hardly worth the paper it’s printed on if the employee can’t find information in it and must go and ask a supervisor.Should my technical writers index our publications?
Many writers enjoy indexing and have a knack for it. Others don’t. Deciding whether to outsource the job to a professional indexer will be based on many factors: how much your writers know about indexing, whether you can spare them from their regular work, whether you are able to provide training, and so on.
As a professional indexer, I can lift many of your writers’ burdens, because
Clicking “view index” will automatically download a PDF sample of the index. None of the PDF files are larger than 100 kilobytes.
Battling for Hearts and Minds: Memory Struggles in Pinochet’s Chile,
1973—1988, by Steve J. Stern (Duke University Press, 2006)
Classic Chic: Music, Fashion, and Modernism, by Mary E. David (University of
California Press, 2006)
InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook, by Martha Hopkins and Randall
Lockridge (Terrace Publishing, 2006)
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