First-time academic book authors might be surprised (and perhaps dismayed!) to learn that they’re responsible for supplying the index to their book. Indexing is done at the page proof stage (after your manuscript has been submitted, copyedited, and typeset), concurrently with proofreading, and publishers typically want the completed index within a few weeks. Many authors choose to create their own index for various reasons, but it can be a major time crunch, especially if you’ve never done this before and have to learn the process and expectations as you go. If you have the funds to hire an indexer but worry about ending up with someone who isn’t the right fit for your book, seeking out an indexer with an academic background in your discipline or subject area can save you time, energy, and stress.
As an indexer, I am a specialist rather than a generalist–my goal is to support authors in musicology and related fields by creating indexes informed by:
- Formal knowledge of the methods and conventions of book indexing
- An understanding of the subject matter and disciplinary conventions of your book–if I don’t have that understanding, I won’t take the job!
- Communication with you to make sure the completed index accurately represents your work
Note: At this time, I only offer traditional back-of-the-book indexing (where the index is submitted to the press as a separate document), not embedded indexing (where the manuscript itself is tagged with the index entries). Before getting in touch with me, please check to see which type of index your publisher wants.
As an indexer: I am a member of the American Society for Indexing, and I’m working on the final module of their training course. (Just need to find some free time to take the last exam!) I actively pursue opportunities to learn from other indexers through conferences, webinars, and discussion groups.
As an academic: I have a PhD in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and my research has focused on the transnational culture and networks of concert music in the twentieth century, particularly in the United States and France. My master’s thesis was on drum and bugle corps, and my graduate coursework included seminars on music and religion, ethnomusicology and the African diaspora, film music, music and technology, and music and cross-cultural encounter.
Indexing is commonly priced by the number of indexable pages in the page proofs (excluding sections that will not be included in the index, such as the acknowledgments and bibliography). My rate for an academic monograph or edited volume will typically be between $4.00 and $6.00 per indexable page, depending on the page layout (more words crammed onto each page = higher rate) and the complexity of the material. A slight discount is applied for books I’ve already worked on as an editor, since I’m not encountering the text for the first time.
- If you are paying with your own funds or being reimbursed by your institution, I can accept payment by check, ACH bank transfer, Venmo, or credit/debit card, and full payment is due within 30 days of service completion unless we agree on a different arrangement. I will provide an invoice and a receipt.
- If your institution is paying me directly, it is your responsibility to connect me with someone who can process payments for independent contractors. University payment systems often go slowly, so any efforts to move things along are appreciated!
Michael A. Figueroa, City of Song: Music and the Making of Modern Jerusalem (Oxford University Press, 2022)
Louis K. Epstein, The Creative Labor of Music Patronage in Interwar France (Boydell Press, 2022)
(More to come in 2022!)