Indexing Services

How do I arrange for book indexing services?

To ask for a quote, send me an email ( describing your book and noting the deadline. If you have a Word manuscript or a PDF of the book in layout, include it with your message. I will give you an estimate for a Word manuscript or a firm quote for a PDF. 

After we agree on the fee and delivery date, I will add your book to my schedule. Let me know right away if there are changes to your calendar.

Publishers usually allow three to four weeks for indexing, but sometimes less. Often the indexing process occurs at the same time as proofreading.  For rush jobs, I can index a 200-page scholarly book in less than a week. Of course, I prefer more time.

If possible, contact me early in the publishing process. 

How much will it cost?

Indexers charge by the page, the hour, or the project. 

I usually prepare an estimate using a per page rate. Page rates for back-of-the-book indexes vary according to the difficulty of the material, the size of the page, the length of the book, and so on. After I see your Word manuscript or PDF, I will give you an estimate or quote for your project.

Rates vary for other types of indexes, such as indexes embedded in Word or InDesign or indexes for special materials, such as legislation or government policy manuals. Contact me to discuss the details of the project. 

For more information on InDesign, see InDesign Indexes.

What do you actually do when you index a book?

I will read your book at least three times. 

  • First I look for significant concepts and terminology, trying to imagine which topics will be important to the reader and the author. 
  • Next I write the index, developing a structure with main entries, subentries, and cross-references. I use Cindex indexing software, which performs all of the mechanical tasks of alphabetizing entries and arranging page numbers in order. This software allows me to focus on the conceptual work of writing the index. 
  • Finally, I check the entries, page by page, making sure that I have covered all important topics and that page numbers are accurate. 

I also edit and proofread the draft index before sending it to you.

What about revisions to the index?

Because I use professional indexing software, I can make changes quickly and easily. I am happy to work with you until you are satisfied with the index.

Do I need to provide you with a list of keywords or main terms?

A list is not necessary because I have training and experience in selecting terms and adding cross-references. If I miss anything, let me know when you review the draft index and I can easily add or delete entries when I revise the index.

What additional services are included?

I will send you a list of issues that you may want to review, such as grammatical errors, misspelled names, and so on. I usually focus only on issues that impact the index, but if I see something that might be missed, I will let you know.

Where can I find a sample index?

To view one of more than 100 sample indexes, go to Indexes by Subject on this website and choose a subject area.  Select a brown book title to link to the page on the site. When you select the image of the book cover on Amazon, two tabs are displayed, the Kindle Book and the Print Book. Select the Print Book tab, and then navigate to the Index.

A final note…

I love what I do. I understand that scholarly books often take many years of work. You deserve the best index possible to market your book and to help your readers.