Book Indexing Services
Good Indexes Sell Books!
Indexes do sell books. But beware: all indexes are not the same. A good index contains all the important topics, subtopics and cross references in a meaningful order.
According to Nancy Mulvany in Indexing Books, "a good index retains the author's terminology, while anticipating the language of readers that may differ from that of the author, and anticipates the expectations of different readers. In other words, an index does not exist independently of its audience."
A good index is also an indication that a book is meant to be taken seriously by reviewers. In an NPR radio interview San Diego Tribune book reviewer and books editor Arthur Salm once said, "A nonfiction book without an index has no heft. I pay it no attention."
"Book indexing is something you will either enjoy or detest; there is little middle ground," Mulvany also (says). "You will have a knack for it or you won't. I do not believe indexing can be taught... a very important aspect of this work comes down to the individual indexer's judgment and communicative abilities... Like other types of writing, it is a mixture of art and craft, judgment and selection."
In How to Make Money from Home, Peter Farrell says, "Indexing work is not recommended to those who lack an orderly mind and a capacity for taking pains. A good index is a minor work of art but it is also the product of clear thought and meticulous care."
A good index means more book sales.
After doing everything else right, don't leave your index to chance.
Our Book Indexers
SANDRA JUDD is an editor, proofreader, and indexer with more than 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Her clients have included university presses, large, mainstream publishers, and smaller presses and professional organizations.
She has edited or proofread over 300 published books, on topics that include politics, history, business, literary criticism, ethnic history, anthropology, science and medicine, industry manuals, memoirs, Christian and inspirational, parenting and relationships, humor, and fiction. She believes every person has a story to tell and she has a real passion for bringing these stories to print.
She has prepared indexes for more than 30 published books.
Indexing is an art, requiring the indexer to identify the most important details of a book, as well as the subtle nuances that connect one theme to another. Sandra enjoys the challenge of indexing and has successfully indexed books on topics ranging from politics to environmental science to history and biography.
Selected titles she has indexed include:
- America's Romance with the English Garden by Thomas J. Mickey (Ohio University Press, 2013)
- Women Lighthouse Keepers of Lake Michigan: Heroic Tales of Courage and Resourcefulness by Kathy S. Mason and Mark R. Polelle (Edwin Mellen Press, 2012)
- Finnish American Rag Rugs: Art, Tradition and Ethnic Continuity by Yvonne R. Lockwood (Michigan State University Press, 2009)
- The Long Conversation: 125 Years of Sidwell Friends School by James Zug (Sidwell Friends School, 2008)
- The Guardian: The History of South Africa's Extraordinary Anti-Apartheid Newspaper by James Zug (Michigan State University Press, 2007)
- Pandora's Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway by Jeff Alexander (Michigan State University Press, 2009)
- Modeling Archaeological Site Burial in Southern Michigan: A Geoarchaeological Synthesis by G. William Monaghan and William A. Lovis (Michigan State University Press, 2005)
- Proofreading and copyediting, to catch those tiny errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar and put the finishing touch on a manuscript
- Stylistic editing, to polish each sentence and give the text clarity and a professional finish
- Substantive editing, to help groom the bigger picture, round out the argument, and fill in any gaps in logic
- Indexing, to provide a professional index to complete the book
MADGE WALLACE is a professional freelance indexer. She creates indexes found at the back of nonfiction books. When an index is done according to generally accepted indexing standards, it performs flawlessly. The reader finds what he is looking for and doesn’t give the index a second thought. On the other hand, if the index is poorly done, the reader becomes frustrated and will likely move on to the next book. Worse yet, a nonfiction book published without an index may not be taken seriously by the publishing industry. In short, a good index enhances the value of a book to readers, reviewers, librarians, instructors, and researchers. It is a mark of a serious book.
Indexing is a skill Madge acquired after many years of writing freelance for newspapers and magazines, as well as authoring four published books. Her award-winning novel, Paying the Price, the story of a real estate deal in Hawaii that goes terribly bad, was published in 2005. Her Hawaii Real Estate Exam Book has been used by students all over the world to pass the Hawaii real estate licensing exam.
As an indexer Madge puts herself in the mind of the potential reader and anticipates his needs. Indexing involves such things as
- gathering together scattered information on the same subject
- breaking down large ranges of information into manageable subtopics
- cross referencing related topics
- double posting topics that might be accessed in several different ways
- distinguishing between passing references and substantive discussions
Madge has a degree in mathematics, and is a graduate of the U.S.D.A. Graduate School's Basic Indexing Course, a tried and true standard for indexers. She is a member of the American Society of Indexers. She indexes books on topics ranging from history to politics, cookbooks to real estate, social studies to biography, and health and wellness to Hawaiiana. All subjects will be considered.
Madge welcomes your questions on indexing. To learn more about the importance of indexing, see her article, "Good Indexes Sell Books." And if you are considering doing your index yourself, please see "Author as Indexer: the Good, the Bad and the Possible."