Publishers and Authors, How much is an Index Worth to You?

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How much is your next index worth to you?

    • in sales?
    • in royalties?
    • in reviews?
    • in text adoptions?
    • in peer approval?
    • in personal satisfaction?
    • in time and effort?
    • as the key to your work?

Only you know how many weeks/months/years you have spent creating your book. Now that it's time for an index, consider:

    • Potential buyers and bookstore browsers .... will use the index in deciding whether to buy your book.
    • Librarians and educators... will use the index in deciding whether to acquire or adopt your book.
    • Book reviewers... will use the index in deciding whether to recommend your book.
    • Your peers... will use the index to judge your book's completeness in their (and your) area of expertise.
An index is much more than an alphabetical list of topics with page numbers attached - at least, it should be. A good index is a road map that leads both experts and novices in your field to every pertinent sentence you've written, regardless of their point of departure and without dead ends or annoying detours.
Creating a good index takes understanding of the reader as well as the subject. It takes objectivity, perspective, a sense of proportion and priority, patience, speed, technical training, and experience. If you have all these qualities, if you can apply them under deadline pressure, and if you would rather index your current book than start writing your next one, you, the author, are the best indexer for your book. Otherwise:

Entrust Your Index to a Professional

The American Society for Indexing (ASI) can help you or your publisher find the right indexer for your book. Since 1968, indexers have been demonstrating their commitment to their profession by joining ASI, honing their skills through meetings and communication with a worldwide network of peers.
ASI's Indexer Locator is a directory of freelance indexers including contact and background information for each as well as indexes by subject specialty, type of material indexed, and geographic location. The Indexer Locator is free to authors and publishers. Access it here.