The Society of Indexers

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Fees for indexing: guidelines for clients

In negotiating fees, whether based on hourly or page rates, indexers will consider the complexity of the text and other factors listed below.

Negotiation of fees

Before being asked to agree a fee the indexer should see the proofs, or at least a few specimen pages, in order to make a fair assessment of what is involved. If time is too short for that, at least the following details should be given:

  • subject, length and format of book
  • readership aimed at, to allow the indexer to assess the level of speciality required
  • pages/number of lines allowed for index
  • time available to produce the index
  • format in which the index is required (rtf, html, PDF)
  • whether the fee includes incidental expenses or whether these can be charged separately
  • any factors listed below that affect time required.

Preparing to contact an indexer

Completing this MS Word (RTF) form RTF (Rich Text Format) file and emailing it to potential indexers will help them assess their availability and suitability for the job and quote a realistic fee. If you need an indexer urgently, try telephoning first to check availability.

Factors that may increase the time required for indexing

  • reference and research texts requiring indexes equal in importance to the textual content
  • detailed indexing of figures and tables
  • foreign language text content
  • need for consultation of reference sources to ascertain correct form of index entry
  • requirement to consult author
  • proofs of poor quality, or of an awkward size or format, which are difficult to read or handle
  • proofs received out of sequential order
  • late amendments to proofs
  • non-standard house style or presentation
  • embedding of tags or insertion of hyperlinks.

Factors that may increase the rate charged

  • complex text which needs a detailed understanding of the subject matter
  • pressure to produce an index in a very short time
  • necessity to work unsocial hours
  • embedding of tags or insertion of hyperlinks.

As from 1 January 2014, the Society recommends indexing rates of £23.00 an hour, £2.55 a page or £6.95 per thousand words for an index to a straightforward text.

It is recommended that these figures be used as a basis for estimating the total cost of an index. It should be noted that experienced indexers working on specialized texts will normally charge more than the rates quoted above, which are applicable to non-specialist texts and less experienced indexers.

Further advice on commissioning indexes is available here

A sample indexing contract is available to download.

History of recommended rates (members only) is available here

Last updated: 02 January 2014 | Maintained by Webmaster | Page ID: 135
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