Anyone can create an index, right? Not exactly. It is true that anyone with the right software can create a concordance for a book. However, this does not mean that anyone can or should create an index for your publication.

Here's why. A professionally created, custom-made index offers your readers more than a concordance, which is only an alphabetized list of words at the end of a book. The custom-made index is an intuitive map for your readers; it helps readers navigate through your book quickly and efficiently. This is because a professional indexer anticipates the needs of your readers in a way that concordance generating software simply cannot do.

Trust a professional indexer. After reading your book, I can create a custom-made index to your specifications with my professional indexing software. This index will give your book even greater appeal in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. The casual reader and serious researcher alike will return to your book again and again because it contains meaningful information that is easy to locate in its custom-made index.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book indexes: Gifts that keep on giving

My most recently acquired "present," a gratis copy of Luther's Works, vol. 79: Church Postil V, arrived at my doorstep with several other packages I'd ordered and been expecting for the holiday season. Needless to say, it was the first box I opened. There is something special about seeing and holding the finished product to which I've made a small, yet significant contribution. Why is this?
As I thumbed through the newly published book, it dawned on me that the indexes I create are like gifts I give to readers. An index helps the reader "unwrap" a book's information again and again; it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Something a little different

No, indexing books isn't all I do. Sometimes I get to do something a little different, but it still involves books, a publishing company, and Florida (!).

This is the third year that I've been invited to help man the booth for Memoria Press at the upcoming Special Needs Conference, hosted by Florida Parent-Educators' Association. Once again I'll be working alongside my friend-turned-author, Cheryl Swope.

Cheryl is the author and editor of several books and publications. My youngest son is featured as a case study in Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child, and I've had the privilege to index Eternal Treasures: Teaching Your Child at Home

It's a wonderfully *different* thing when books, friends, and indexing come together like this!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Still keeping busy with Concordia Publishing House!

Between family obligations and ongoing indexing projects for Concordia Publishing House, I've not had much time for updating my business blog lately. My excuse-- I am an indexer and not a writer ;). 

Current jobs that have been keeping me steadily busy for CPH include Concordia Commentary Series: Matthew 11:2-20:34, vol.2   and Luther's Works, vol. 79: Church Postil V . 

I am privileged to work with editors Julene Dumit and Dawn Mirly-Weinstock on these current projects, and I look forward to working with them on future projects.

P.S.--I'll be sure to update my business blog as soon as plans for these future projects are finalized ;).

Monday, April 11, 2016

Indexes and Indexers: What Does This Mean?

Recently I was asked to provide a guest post about indexing on author Mary Moerbe's blog, Meet, Write, and Salutary. Mary is a deaconess for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and she has authored and co-authored several Lutheran publications. Her blog is uniquely geared towards Lutheran authors and other Lutheran professionals involved in the book-making process. 

I am re-posting my "nuts and bolts" article about indexing here also. Because this article was written for a specifically Lutheran audience, I use some familiar "Lutheranisms" throughout the article. Enjoy!

Indexers and indexes: What does this mean?

In the language of Lutheranism, one might say that indexers love to “read, learn, and inwardly digest” books of all kinds. However, it doesn’t stop there. They also delight in helping others by organizing the contents of books.

While it is true that an indexer’s name seldom appears anywhere in a book, there is no denying that indexers provide an important service to readers, authors, and publishers alike. For the reader, a book’s contents and worth are quickly assessed by a well-made index. Accurate and concise wording in the index give authors “credibility-at-a-glance.” Publishers’ book sales may increase if prospective buyers can browse a book’s index prior to purchase. These are certainly good reasons for including indexes in the back of books, but an author may still wonder if it is really necessary to hire a professional indexer.

On temptation—why hire a professional indexer
As an author, it is tempting to think that making an index is no big deal. How hard can it be to make an alphabetized list of keywords from a book? After all, there are several cheap indexing computer programs available for purchase (i.e. concordance generating software), and going this route looks like it will save a few bucks. Besides, what better choice is there for indexing a book than the author who wrote it? These are a few of the most common misconceptions concerning indexes and indexers.

On relevance-- what an index is (and isn’t)
Indexes are easily confused with concordances. Concordances look like indexes because they are alphabetized lists of keywords with corresponding page references from a book. However, computer generated concordances are very different from indexes in at least two ways.

First, a concordance includes every occurrence of each keyword throughout the book’s text. Page references for these keywords may or may not lead to relevant information, and thumbing through a concordance begins to resemble a wild goose chase. Another major difference between concordances and indexes is that concordances do not include cross references for synonymous keywords and topics. Only careful textual analysis and human intellect can make these connections, and this is what freelance indexers are trained to do.

Alternatively, a professionally made index reflects the author’s intentions and language of the book through an organized list of carefully selected keywords and synonymous cross references. Their corresponding page references lead to substantive information because the indexer deliberately excludes all irrelevant passing mentions for each keyword or cross reference. A well-crafted index looks less like a utilitarian, disjointed list of keywords and more like a thoughtful, creative piece of writing. 

On identity-- who indexers are, what they charge, and how to find them
Freelance indexers are a surprisingly large group of professionals in the publishing industry, many of whom have master’s degrees in library science and various other subject areas. They are well-versed in the basics of indexing specifications like those outlined in The Chicago Manual of Style, and they likely own professional indexing software that allows them to easily create and manipulate indexes in many different ways. Fees charged by indexers vary, but they are mostly determined by the complexity of a book and the desired thoroughness and length of its index.

Indexers are easy to find. Many reputable indexers keep busy through referrals from satisfied, regular clients. Therefore, it makes sense to begin your search by asking your publisher, editor, or other reputable authors for a list of preferred indexers with whom they work. Another way to find an indexer is through professional indexing societies or editorial organizations. Examples of these include American Society for Indexers  and Editorial Freelancers Association . Keep in mind indexers pay for their individual directory listings on these websites, and they are by no means exhaustive lists or indicators of quality of service.

Most non-fiction books benefit from indexes because they make a book’s content easier to access. This helps readers, authors, and publishers in various ways. Indexes are not concordances, and because of this index writing is a more complex process than it at first seems. For this reason alone, it is a good idea to hire a professional indexer. Indexers are not hard to locate, and they always welcome opportunities to further discuss the merits of book indexing.

Coates, Sylvia. "Every non-fiction book needs an index: Here’s why." Interview by Alan Rinzler. Alan Rinzler: Consulting Editor. Ed. Alan Rinzler. N.p., 12 Jan. 2009. Web. 1 Apr. 2016. .

Connolly, Dan. "How to Contract with a Book Indexer: Or ‘Hi, Can You Do an Index for Me in Three Days?’" Word for Word Book Services. Ed. Dan Connolly. N.p., 2010. Web. 1 Apr. 2016. .

Noble, John. "Interview with Fellow of the Society of Indexers; John Noble." Interview by Angel Candelario. Tech Writer News. Ed. Angel J. Candelario Rodriguiez. N.p., 11 Jan. 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2016. .


Thursday, March 31, 2016

?xedni sdrawkcaB (Backwards index?)

A backwards index? Here is a short video from Merriam-Webster that explains the history behind this real phenomenon.

Yet another reason to be thankful for my professional indexing software. Love my Cindex!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gratis books: I love 'em!

The Merriam Webster online dictionary gives the following definition for gratis: without charge or recompense: FREE.

What does the word gratis have to do with indexing books? Several of my clients send me gratis copies of books I've indexed for them once the book is published. I never tire of this thoughtful gesture.

Sure, I've already read through the book multiple times; it's practically memorized by the end of each job. Therefore, it's not likely that I will read the book again. Why then do I appreciate receiving gratis copies of books I have indexed?

First, gratis books are great visual reminders. They act as "bookshelf trophies," reminding me of a job well done. Their presence on my bookshelf encourages me to fine-tune my indexing skills even more.

Gratis books are also great quick reference tools for me. Not every indexing question can be answered by a publisher's "Style Guide for Indexers" or The Chicago Manual of Style, and Amazon's "Look inside" feature is only a little helpful at best. Sometimes I just need to thumb through a book I've already indexed so that I can figure out the answer to my question. There are no emails to write or phone calls to make. The bottom line is gratis books save time, especially when working with regular clients.

Finally, who doesn't love getting things that are free?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


brothers, 24–25, 26, 28–30, 61, 258

is an entry taken from the index I created for, Luther's Works, vol. 77: Church Postil III. This index no doubt helped Concordia Publishing House editor, Dawn Weinstock find exactly what she needed for her academic blog entry,  "What Does Luther Say about Trust in Christ?" 

Professionally made indexes are really that handy!