The sweat-laborer of the publishing industry

Who makes a book’s index?

I had no idea. I just hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t fall on my shoulders. I am anything but organized and deciding what should or should not be listed in the index sounded like an impossible task. Have you ever really look at an index?

I posed the question to my editor:

KT: Do I have to do the Index?

Editor: No, the Indexers will do that.

KT: There are Indexers?

Editor: Yep, they are pretty much the garment workers of the publishing industry.

Who knew? There is even an American Society of Indexers. They have conferences. Boy, those must be a hoot.

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moonrat says:

be careful, though, and check your contract, because you might end up paying as much as $1000 (against royalties) for that index.

Kelsey says:

They talked like it would be done in-house and that my book might not need an index anyhow. I checked my contract to be sure and it looks like if they want one it won’t be at my expense. Yippee!

Josh says:

Read Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, or at least Chapter 55; “NEVER INDEX YOUR OWN BOOK.”

There are also all the freelance copyeditors and proofreaders out there with the indexers, making $15-25 an hour. I hire them as part of my job as Project Editor. If we need to get a book laid out and paged really quickly, we send it to India, and they can usually turn a project around in a couple of days.

Kelsey says:

But do guidebook authors have to index their own books?

I’m not sure I could be paid enough to index a book, even if it was my own.

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