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