Indexing is an important step in the publishing process for nonfiction and academic authors. Often occurring simultaneously to proofreading, indexing typically takes place on a publisher’s page proofs or the final Word document that’s already gone through review and copyediting. At this stage, you need a professional indexer to create a guide to the book’s contents so that readers can find important information as quickly and easily as possible.

While indexing a book, indexers do the following:

  • Do a comprehensive final read of the book’s body text (and any other text the publisher wants indexed)
  • Create an alphabetical list of names, places, events, and subjects; direct the reader to important themes; and cross-reference related entries so that readers can reference them using locators (page numbers) in the book’s text
  • Compile a list of errata found during the indexing process

Types of projects that need indexing are academic and nonfiction books that have already been laid out by a designer into page proofs.

Price: $6 per indexable page (count includes body text/foot- or endnotes/illustrations/appendices but does not include front/back matter/bibliography)

Includes: One indexing “pass” to the page proof and one shorter response to any queries, within reason, which will be sent to the Editor within 14 days of final delivery. The index will be delivered in whichever file format your publisher requires (e.g., MS Word) along with a list of errata.

When: Indexing is often the very last step before your manuscript goes to print. By this point, the text needs to be laid out by a designer into a PDF proof or other design document. Sometimes, however, a publisher may request an index from the final copy of the book in Word document format.

How long does it take? A typical indexing project takes 1-4 weeks depending on the length of the book.

Need help with something else?

Writing Style

Improve overall writing style and word choice

Improve sentence syntax

Address transitions between sentences and paragraphs

"Smooth" rough translations to English from another language

Dramatically cut word count


Correct grammar and punctuation errors

Correct sentence syntax

Apply a style manual like the Chicago Manual of Style, APA, or MLA to body text and citations (footnotes, endnotes, bibliography)

Ensure consistency

Eliminate repetition

The Final Step

Double-check publisher proofs

Catch stray typos and incorrect punctuation

Address layout and typesetting issues like line and word breaks, widows and orphans

Illustration placement and caption consistency

Running header and chapter title consistency

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