What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The rules on indexing rates

This is real-time work here. I just seconds ago sent the following email to a new client, and I post it here mostly so I'll have it to refer to in case I need it again. Sometimes newcomers are baffled by indexing rates (particularly why a page that's half-filled with type is billed the same as a page full of type), so if you're new to hiring an indexer, here's a primer.

By the way, the answer to the parenthetical question above is simple: A half-page of type could have five times the number of indexable entries as a full page of type. Indexers would go crazy(ier) if they had to figure out how much substance was on each page and bill accordingly. Hence, the easiest thing to do is as follows:


The reason I ask about page count and trim size is that's the way indexes are billed: indexable pages times rate, and the rate is based on the trim size. As an indexer, I can't really concern myself with the amount of text overall because, as you can imagine, that's purely a design decision about how much text is going to go on a page. Having said that, if the book is set with something like 18-point type on 28-point leading, I'd cut a break on the page rate, obviously. But if the design is more or less within normal looks-like-a-book standards, the rate is what it is, regardless of design decisions that lengthen or tighten the book. With clients who use me regularly, some 6x9 books are set densely and some loosely, but the rate stays the same for a 6x9 book, and the work evens out over time.

For a 7x9 book, the rate is $4.05/indexable page -- which is pretty much everything from the introduction to the end of the running chapters inclusive. Acknowledgments and foreword are not indexed. Preface is indexed if there's indexable information in there. Glossary not indexed. Appendices are generally not indexed (except maybe very generally) because their titles usually appear in a table of contents, which is good enough. A page is a page, regardless of the amount of type on it, which is to say, chapter openers and chapter enders that might have less type on them still count as a page for billing purposes. Endnotes/footnotes are typically indexed for the substantive material that appears in them, but if the author/press does not want them indexed, then I don't index them.

If any of this seems like it's coming out of left field, let me know. But it's pretty much SOP for any full-time, professional indexer. I just want to make full disclosure up front rather than encounter any difficulties at a later stage.

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