AuthorFriendly Freelance Book Indexing

Some advice for authors in their eighth month:

. . In the book development process, the index is the publisher's responsibility but your burden. Indexing is necessarily the last task in line before the printing press. In the worst case, the publisher's responsibility is discharged when both time and budgeted dollars are scarce. The author's burden then begins with disparaging reviews of an inadequate index and continues with every reader who can't find a desired topic or discussion. A good index won't make your book better but a bad index will definitely hurt it because information doesn't exist unless it can be found.

. . Directly or indirectly you pay for the index. Has your editor explained this to you? A good editor will point this out, and will counsel you as to the format, the size, and the complexity of the index that your book requires. Most importantly a good editor will be able to refer you to indexers with proven basic skills and experience in the subject matter. Even before you discuss this with your editor, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with some indexing basics. This page, maintained by the American Society of Indexers, is a checklist of what to look for in a good index:

. . If you weren't fortunate enough to find a good editor (it's harder than it used to be), or if you just want a second opinion, may I offer my services? I'll provide a free email consultation or a quote based on the size of your book and your index requirements? I have 32 years of experience in editing and indexing. I've written indexes from three pages for short general interest nonfiction to one of the largest indexes ever published (1600 pages, 107,000 index lines). The following links will take you to samples of some of my recent work:

Corporate Reorganization and Bankruptcy, by Mark J. Roe

Mergers and Acquisitions 2000, by William J. Carney

First Amendment Law, by Gerald Gunther & Kathleen M. Sullivan

American Constitutional Law, by Laurence H. Tribe

International Finance: Transactions, Policy, and Regulation, by Hal S. Scott & Philip A. Wellons

International Environmental Law and Policy, by Hunter, Salzman, & Zaelke

. . I have subject matter experience in the following areas: Agricultural Sciences; Automobile and Highway Safety; Criminology and Police Science; Economics; Engineering; Forensics and Forensic Experts; Hazardous and Toxic Materials; Health Care; History; Human Relations; Industrial Relations; Law Enforcement; Military and Naval Science; Nursing; Occupational Safety and Health; Political Science; Product Safety; Sociology; Substance Abuse; Taxation; Transportation; Zoning and Land Planning.

Mike Bennett