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Be a Freelance Book Indexer | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

Be a Freelance Book Indexer

Date April 30, 2008


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Besides the table of contents, where’s the first place you look to find more detailed information when reading a book? The index, of course.

Professional indexing is a cross between writing and editing. Between art, technique, and science. Painstaking accuracy and attention to detail are what set apart indexers from other literary types.

Indexing services are needed after a book is written but prior to official publication. From my own book experiences, the index is certainly something I take for granted.

In fact, for highly technical books, if the index isn’t as comprehensive as I’d like, I won’t buy the book. So, there’s obviously something about a good index that I truly enjoy.

A good place to start if you feel you might have the knack for this type of business is to join the American Society of Indexers (ASI). The Website offers a wide array of indexing information including a link for people interested in indexing as a profession. They even have a yearly conference.

Startup costs are small. All you need is a computer and special software to churn out a helpful index.

Typically, an indexer would approach large publishing houses for freelance work. But, the Internet has lowered that bar which—like many freelance areas—has brought with it good and bad consequences.

The self publishing industry has exploded in the last ten years. If I were a newbie indexer, I would approach small self publishing companies with my services. Another option is to approach ghostwriters, book packagers, and Internet Marketers. Anyone who publishes non-fiction information could use a qualified indexer.

The ASI also has a job hotline and—upon joining the society—allows you to be included in their large, for-hire database.

How do indexers price their services? According to the ASI,

“The two most common ways of quoting book index prices are per page and per entry. Different publishers prefer different methods, and indexes for different media (databases, periodicals, etc.) also are priced differently

…Beginning indexers would be well-advised to focus on the hourly fee when figuring their bids. This enables new indexers to decide what kinds of work are best for them, and to track improvements in skill, efficiency and income as they become experienced.”

The low initial investment makes this a great part-time to full-time freelance business. Turnaround times may be short but you can use this to your advantage. If you enjoy this type of detailed work, charge a higher rate for shorter deadlines

As your skills improve, your hourly rate will automatically increase giving you more income for the same amount of work. Sounds like a fabulous freelance idea to me!

This post doesn’t come close to doing justice for this freelance business idea. Check out the ASI’s frequently asked questions page for a more thorough analysis.

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Related posts:

  1. 10 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer
  2. 23 Opportunities for Freelance Writers
  3. Freelance Idea Roundup Monday - 14 April 2008

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