How to Contract with a Book Indexer, Part 1

February 2001
by Dan Connolly

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I’ve heard people swear that they would never buy a nonfiction book without an index. Acquisition librarians use the index to make purchasing decisions. Prospective buyers want to know if the book covers their particular interest; where do they look? You guessed it. Leaving aside the question of whether an index is financially beneficial, many nonfiction books deserve and need one.
OK, you have a book that needs to be indexed. What do you do about it? How do you find an indexer? How do you ask the right questions to determine if this indexer can do your book? How much do you pay the indexer? How long should it take? How do you get the book to the indexer, and the index back from the indexer? How do you know if the index is a good one?
This is the first article of a three-part series on indexing. These articles should be able to help you. After reading this, you’ll have the inside track on finding the right person for the job, getting a quality product, and paying a fair price for it. You might learn a bit about indexing as a profession along the way, and some of the differences between a freelance indexer and other freelancers that you might deal with (e.g., graphic artists, copyeditors). As a freelance indexer, I’ll be able to give you some insight into the process of indexing (and freelancing, a not inconsiderable aspect of the job).
A Brief Introduction to Indexing and Indexes
It’s not unusual for publishers and editors who have not come from a scho…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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