How to Contract with a Book Indexer, Part 2: Negotiating the Fee & Scheduling

March 2001
by Dan Connolly

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You’ve found an indexer. He has the requisite skills and experience. That’s great. How much should you pay him? Well, that depends on how much he wants and how much you can pay. Simply put, it’s a negotiation. Before we discuss fees for indexing, let’s look at the life of a freelancer briefly so that you can see what (hypothetically) goes into fee-setting for an independent contractor. As a small, independent publisher, you most likely know about this stuff already.

Type of Book  Entries Per Page  Pages per Hour  Page Rates  Academic/Scholarly  5-107-12$4.00 – $6.00Textbooks  7-108-12$3.50 – $5.50Trade Books (Light)  2-412-20$3.00 – $4.00Trade Books (Dense)  5-107-12$3.50 – $6.00Technical/Business7-1210-15$3.50 – $6.00
Well, that’s a lot. Not every indexer will have these costs, but most will. How does this translate into a fee? Not simply or easily.
Let’s look at how much time is available in any given year to produce income. There are 365 days. Subtract 104 weekend days, 12 holidays, 10 vacation days, and 10 sick days. That leaves 229 working days if all goes well. At 7 hours per day (don’t forget that lunch hour and the fact that most freelance work like indexing is very concentration-intensive), that’s 1,603 hours. In order to maintain a freelancing business, fully 20% of the indexer’s time will be consum…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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