The book you have spent so long writing and editing is almost ready to be published. It is in its final layout, and has been proofread multiple times. The one hurdle remaining is the index. Finally, you receive the index manuscript for review. While it may be tempting to give the index just a cursory glance before blessing it with your imprimatur, it is worth investing a modest amount of time to ensure that the index does your book justice. A complete and well-constructed index adds real value to your book by making its content more accessible to readers. How can you be confident that the index you receive is good enough for your book?
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A good rule of thumb for deciding what to index, said freelance indexer Kay Banning, is to ask: “Is the user happy to be there when you send them there?” The answer to that question, said Banning, will help determine what to index and what not to index.
Banning said she charges usually charges $3.25 to $3.50 per page, subtracting any pages that don’t need indexing. After receiving the hard copy pages by express mail, she said she does a first read-through of the book to see the “big picture.” Then she reads the introduction and review questions to get the author’s slant for what is important in the book.