Why choose a professional indexer?

“I feel so much more confident now that I have an index. I know that when a reader comes to me with a specific question I can tell him exactly where to go.” — The Biography of Henry VIII

“I used to feel so helpless and confused but now I have precise control over my content!” — Polemics in the Parlor: A History of Women’s Suffrage

But seriously…

An index may or may not make your book feel better, but it’s guaranteed to make your readers feel better. The higher the quality of the index, the higher the quality of a reader’s long-term experience with the book. A professional indexer can ensure a thorough and well-crafted index that enhances the usefulness of the text each time the reader returns to it.

Why not just generate a word list by computer? As explained in How an index is created, a computer is incapable of analyzing or judging the importance of words and concepts in the text. It is also incapable of crucial higher-order functions such as making connections between concepts and grouping related terms.

Why not have the author generate the index? The author is, of course, intimately familiar with the text. However, by the time a book is nearing completion an author may have exhausted his available time and effort. The author will likely be unfamiliar with format and structure requirements for an index. Most importantly, however, an author cannot approach the text as a reader and it is the reader who is the target audience for the index.

A skilled professional indexer is the bridge between author and reader, linking the author’s and reader’s frames of reference. The ability to approach the text with fresh eyes as far as content, but with extensive experience as far as method and analysis, is invaluable in the creation of an index that will lead the reader directly to his destination while ensuring that the author’s intentions are preserved and transmitted.


Each indexing job is different depending on many factors (length and complexity of text, depth of index desired, etc), but most range from $2 to $6 per page. We will work with you to clearly define the requirements and determine appropriate rates for your job. To request a quote for a particular job, please email a query.

“An index is not an outline, nor is it a concordance. It’s an intelligently compiled list of topics covered in the work, prepared with the reader’s needs in mind.”

The American Society for Indexing