A History of the ASI Publisher Outreach Committee

The ASI Publisher Outreach Committee held its first meeting in March 2018, after then-president Kendra Millis asked Joan Shapiro to head up the initiative to promote the field of indexing to the broader publishing community.

Original members were Steve Ingle, Michelle Guiliano, Joanne Sprott, Amron Gravett, and Nan Badgett.
The Summer 2018 issue of Key Words describes one of the committee’s first activities: a Book Industry Study Group (BISG) meeting Steve and Joan attended in New York City. The article states that the new committee’s goal “is to make publishers and authors aware of the value of hiring professional indexers who uphold the high standards of ASI’s Best Practices.” That goal dovetails with the committee’s mission statement, adopted at its April 12, 2018, meeting: “To enhance ASI membership value by encouraging publishers and authors to contract with ASI members for high quality indexes.”

In 2018, the committee began working on several projects, including efforts to make it easier for clients to connect with ASI members online. It initiated changes to ASI’s website to make the Indexer Locator and Jobs Hotline pages more prominent. ASI secured two URLs—FindanIndexer.com and HireanIndexer.com—that lead directly to a new landing page with information on using the Indexer Locator and Jobs Hotline. As Joan explained in her June 2019 announcement of these changes, people who are searching for an indexer can now find these two ASI services even if they are completely unaware of ASI’s website.

Also in 2018, the committee explored creating a video for publishers on hiring indexers and evaluating indexes. Members reviewed ASI print materials to use as a calling card at industry events. In early 2018, Steve spoke to a joint meeting of the New England chapter of ASI and Bookbuilders of Boston, where he distributed ASI bookmarks.

In 2019 and 2020, the committee researched publishing organizations that ASI could consider joining or partnering with. In August 2020, Joan and Theresa Duran met via Zoom with officers of Chicago Women in Publishing. Around the same time, Joan reached out to the Book Industry Study Group. ASI was already involved with BISG on the attainment of health insurance options, but Joan sought to increase ASI’s visibility within the trade association. Executive director Brian O’Leary was receptive to Joan’s inquiries and offered ASI a trial membership for one year, which we accepted. At his recommendation, ASI joined BISG’s Workflow Committee, which aims to improve workflow practices for the publishing industry. Executive Director Gwen Henson currently represents ASI on this committee and also participates in a related group, the Book Association Advisory Council. According to Gwen, “It is an ongoing opportunity to keep indexers positioned as valuable members of the publishing community.”

The Publisher Outreach Committee’s membership has changed over time. Wouldn’t you like to join us too? We have some interesting projects in the works, and we are seeking more committee members. Please contact Theresa Duran for more information.

—Nan Badgett and Theresa Duran

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