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 What do publishers charge for indexes?

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LC
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LC

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What do publishers charge for indexes? Empty
PostSubject: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 1:04 pm

My contract for my current text calls for the index charge to be deducted from my royalties. I never thought to ask what it would cost (and still don't want to ask yet). I never asked because my very first book 22 years ago had the index charged to me, too, but it only cost $200. It occurs to me that times have changed.

It's only four pages long, but with lots of small print entries.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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PostSubject: Re: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 3:32 pm

Society of indexers (UK):

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

After trying to find a US equivalent, I now understand why you raised the subject -- you can't find the current rate for indexers in the US. This might help:

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Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Shelagh Watkins 2017
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LC
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LC

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PostSubject: Re: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 3:40 pm

Thanks, Shelagh. According to these sites, I expect to be charged between $1,500 and $2,000. Evil or Very Mad At the contract signing I did bring up that I wasn't used to paying for indexes but the editor was pretty firm about how they always charge the authors for them. I didn't push it because they gave me so much more for expenses than my other textbook pub that I was just happy for that. Oh well.
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 4:39 pm

I do my own indexes. The publisher sends final page pdfs, and I go from there. I started doing it years ago when I realized that indexes in computer books were lacking. That was because they used professional indexers who did not understand the technology and the needs of the reader.

I wrote small command-line programs that helped me with the task. Word has a good indexing tool built in. You need a word doc with pagination that matches the final book. It's what I use now.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 5:03 pm

Could you elaborate on professional indexers not knowing the needs of the reader? What do they need to do besides compile a comprehensive list of words?

I was asked to review the index (something I've never been asked before) and I didn't know what to do besides scan to see that all the major words were covered. I'm certainly not going to check each page number against the proofs. Come to think of it though, four pages does seem kind of skimpy.

I was never given a Word doc that matched the proofs. First I reviewed the edited Work docs, then the pdf page proofs. I made small changes to the page proofs and I don't know how the publisher handled that; if they went back to the Word doc or what. I guess they would have to, wouldn't they?
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 5:54 pm

Quote :
Could you elaborate on professional indexers not knowing the needs of the reader?

To build a good index for a technical book, you have to know what the reader will be looking for. And those things are not aways simple words or phrases in the text. Often the index entry is indented, like this:

libraries, 317, 319, 320, 321, 324, 325, 350
- application framework, 324
- building, 350
- class, 317-325, 320
- compatibility, 319
- file names, 319
- function, 320
- general data type, 321
- general purpose, 321
- linking with, 320
- problem domain, 324
- static object, 317
- template, 320, 325

None of those words or phrases are in the text in a context that an indexer would understand unless he/she was also a C++ programmer. You build such an index by applying your knowledge of the subject matter and the level of understanding of your readers.
Quote :
What do they need to do besides compile a comprehensive list of words?
That's not an index. It's a concordance. Smile
Quote :
I was never given a Word doc that matched the proofs. First I reviewed the edited Work docs, then the pdf page proofs.
You manally repaginate your word doc to match the page numbers on the pdf. Often that's just a matter of changing the page layout and paper size. Then you build the index.
Quote :
I made small changes to the page proofs and I don't know how the publisher handled that; if they went back to the Word doc or what. I guess they would have to, wouldn't they?
No, they probably have Acrobat, which lets them modify the pdf for your changes.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyWed Mar 30, 2011 8:54 pm

Quote :
Often the index entry is indented, like this:

Oh, ok. Actually, my ph index DOES have lots of indents like that. My Cengage doesn't. This thread has gone into my "things to fix" file on that book for the second edition.

Did you do your own indexes just because you thought you could do them better, or also because your pubs would charge? If the latter, do you know what they would have charged?

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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 7:24 am

LC wrote:
Did you do your own indexes just because you thought you could do them better, or also because your pubs would charge? If the latter, do you know what they would have charged?
Probably some of both. I remember it being discussed, and as I recall they said I should provide an index. If I couldn't do it, they would get someone to do it and take the cost out of my royalties. An amount wasn't mentioned. Probably ballpark but I don't remember. There weren't many computer books out then (1985), so I used other reference books to get an idea of what was in an index. The only guidance I can recall from the publisher was, "It it's in the TOC, it doesn't need to be in the index." We didn't have online discussion groups then. We didn't have online anything.

When computer books became more available, I realized that whenever I wanted to find something, the index often wasn't helpful. Whoever did it didn't understand the kinds of questions a reader would ask. That's the trick to writing a good text or reference book. Knowing what your reader doesn't know, what s/he needs to know, and how to deliver it and in what order. An index is an essestial part of that process.

I'm working on one now for my book on ventriloquism. The tough part is figuring out what not to put in the index. And how. Will the reader need "Charlie McCarthy" or "McCarthy, Charlie" or both? And which references to an indexed word, phrase or person should be in the index. Should you load it down with every single reference, or only the ones that help to define or clarify the reference?
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LC
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LC

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PostSubject: Re: What do publishers charge for indexes?   What do publishers charge for indexes? EmptyThu Mar 31, 2011 9:59 pm

Well, the rest of the book was work enough, so I don't know that I'd opt to do the index even if I knew it would cost a lot. Oh well. I just hope it sells enough to cover it and then some. Smile
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