about KEB Indexing
I am a professionally trained indexer with a long history of providing clear, comprehensive, highly usable indexes on time or early. I am professional, flexible, and pleasant to work with. I work to your specifications, with or without a style guide, or if you prefer, I can determine the author’s goals, the intended audience, the appropriate format, structure, and length of the index, and the depth of indexing required.
Because I have a broad knowledge base and am widely read, I have been able to create highly usable indexes in a wide range of subjects. I assimilate new information quickly, and I am adept at incorporating multiple perspectives into an index when necessary. I am scrupulously attentive to detail, and I have strong analytical and organizational abilities. I have excellent communication skills, and I am a terminology expert.
Because the index is an interface between the author and the reader, I base each indexing decision on the author’s intentions and the readers’ needs. In crafting an index, I understand that it is vital for me to see the relationships between details and organize them into meaningful order. I feel it is vital that an index use the author’s words and possess a level of detail that helps readers find the information they need easily and quickly. As I compile an index, I am building a well-interconnected roadmap to the text, one that involves the judicious use of double posting and cross-references and clear, utilitarian entry wording.
My education and training include an M.A. and a B.A. in English, completion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture series of courses on indexing, the UC Berkeley classes Indexing: Theory and Application and Embedded Indexing and Indexing of E-Books, and courses from the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services and the Society for Technical Communication. To keep my knowledge and resources up-to-date, I enhance my professional training by regularly attending local and national workshops and seminars on indexing. I belong to the American Society of Indexers (ASI) and the ASI’s history and archaeology and scholarly indexing special interest groups, Editorial Freelancers Association, the Bay Area Editors’ Forum, and Freelancers Union.
I’ve been indexing for more than twenty years, and I have compiled hundreds of indexes; thus I’ve had the opportunity to index works in a wide range of subject areas, including the following: the humanities, the social sciences, literary theory, communication studies, cookbooks, medicine, popular science, classical literature, history, public health, self-help, how-to, psychology, economics, mathematics, political science, sociology, religious studies, critical thinking, logic, education, linguistics, the behavioral sciences, biography, language instruction, anthropology, and the life sciences.
My clients include publishers, packagers, and individual authors.
There is computer software that can create a concordance—an unanalyzed list of words and phrases that appear in the book. However, this is not an index and does not provide the insight and analysis that a human-generated index does. Unlike a concordance, an index provides access points and cross-references that enhance the user experience. A typical concordance has a very long list of page reference but does not provide the context needed to know which reference is pertinent to the reader’s interest. An index, in contrast, requires textual analysis and a considered interpretation of what’s important in a book.
Most authors do not have the experience, the time, or the software required to create a good index. Often, authors who try to index their own books end up exhausted and frustrated.
You’re the author, and you’re intimately familiar with every name, date, and concept in your book. Your readers, however, don’t have your depth of knowledge. The indexer is experienced in looking at the book through the readers’ eyes and knows how they will search for the information they need. Professional indexers are professional readers. Their job is to think like readers. Training and experience have taught the professional which terms to apply and where and when to apply them to maximize the utility and value of the index.
The professional indexer is specially trained in the art and science of indexing. A professional indexer is adept at synthesizing the author’s essential information into a well-organized index so that readers can find the information they need easily and quickly. A professional indexer is experienced working with publishers’ requirements and is able to meet tight deadlines.
Indexing is a laborious process. A typical academic work, for example, requires about an hour to index ten pages for a well-experienced professional. Highly technical, more complex works can take longer. However, because the professional indexer focuses on indexing, she has the time the text requires. As a publishing professional, the indexer knows what has gone into creating a manuscript for publication and treats it with the care and the attention it deserves. She takes the time needed to craft an index that is worthy of its text.
Professional indexers use complex software designed specifically for indexing. The learning curve for these complicated programs is steep, but as with most professionally oriented software, there’s good reason: the software’s various functions and utilities, once mastered, make the process smoother and faster and ensure that what could be an overwhelming, haphazard process is instead logical, accurate, thorough, and consistent. Mixed alphabetization, excessive undifferentiated locators, blind and circular cross-references, and poor synonym control are potential mistakes the inexperienced indexer can make. These are avoided by an experienced indexer employing specialized software.
I use one of two methods for pricing, depending on your needs.
Per indexable page
Most common is per indexable page. Indexable pages do not usually include front matter (for example, the foreword, the acknowledgements) or back matter (for example, the bibliograpy), unless it is requested. It does generally include charts, graphs, tables, photographs, illustrations, and partial pages. The per page rate is applicable when the book is in final form and there will be no changes to the pagination. The cost per page depends on the density of the text (average number of entries per page), the complexity of the text, the subject matter, your specific requirements, and required turnaround time. Whether you need a single index or separate indexes for author, subject, etc. will be considered in the quote. My per page rate ranges from $3.00 to $6.00.
Sometimes an hourly rate makes more sense. For example, if the index is to be embedded, the book is not yet in its final form when the index is created, so a per page rate would be difficult to determine. If there are pagination or manuscript changes in a book that has been indexed at a per page rate, the necessary index changes will be done at an hourly rate. My hourly rate is $40.
Before the quote is sent, I will need you to send two sample chapters (not the first or last chapter) for evaluation, an approximation of the number of pages to be indexed, the desired size of the completed index, start and deadline dates, and any other information you think would affect the production of the index.
“Kelly is so fantastic to work with—personable, professional, highly proficient, prompt. If there is any one aspect of the lengthy publication process that is never a burden for me as an author, it is the indexing aspect, and that is entirely due to Kelly’s expertise, efficiency, and experience. As long as Kelly is in the indexing business and I am publishing, she will be my indexer.” —author
“I cannot recommend Kelly’s work too highly. She consistently comes through, even when extraordinary deadlines are requested. Her indexes are always concise, complete, and spot-on.” —author
“Kelly is my go-to indexer. She’s efficient and timely, and her thoughtful approach creates an index that is insightful and highly useful. Every book she’s indexed for us is improved by her high-quality index.” —director of production, academic publisher
I’d be delighted to learn more about your project. Consultations and quotes are always free. When requesting a quote, please include as many details about your project as possible.