Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Book Indexer

  • Start-up cost: RM500- RM1,000
  • Potential earnings: RM15,000- RM30,000
  • Typical fees: RM2.50- RM4.00 per printed book page
  • Advertising: Direct mail to book publishers, Yellow Pages, industry newsletters
  • Qualifications: A strong eye for detail and subject matter; impeccable organizational skills
  • Equipment needed: Computer with alphabetical sorting capability, printer
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Definitely
  • Hidden costs: Your time - indexes are complex and time-consuming, and must be accurate
  • Lowdown: When you’re reading a book and you want to find information on a specific topic, you look in the index first. But it probably didn’t occur to you that putting together an index is a job dependent upon painstaking accuracy and attention to detail. It’s an area of specialization that sets professional indexers apart from other editorial types. These folks are typically not writers (although they can be), and they are not really editors, either. Their expertise is sought after the book is written and edited, but prior to publication; they provide readers with a service that enables them to conduct research or just locate topics of interest to them, saving them time in combing through the entire book. Obviously, indexers work with nonfiction books, but the subject matter can be extremely varied and could include everything from automotive manuals to business or self-help guides.
  • Start-Up: Start-up costs are almost negligible for indexing. Begin with memberships in key organizations, then submit a letter of interest or resume to book publishers in and out of your area. Set aside at least RM500-RM1,000 for working capital; you may need it to furnish your office with a comfortable chair (a must). Charge anywhere from RM2.50-RM4.00 per printed book page; for example, a 200-page book will net you RM500 minimum for your indexing work.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Low initial investment makes this a win-win if you don’t mind detail-oriented work. The hours may be long, the turnaround time may be quicker than you had hoped, but the ability to generate income is there for those with talent.

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