Consultations and Reviews

Lots of new indexers value having a professional indexer on call to answer their questions about indexes they’re writing, to help with final edits before sending indexes to clients, and to ask advice and guidance about freelance indexing businesses. Working with new indexers and non-indexers is one of my greatest indexing-related pleasures and I’ve been providing these types of support since 1998. (My assistance is slightly different when I’m helping authors, editors, and publishers.)

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you were available to mentor me through this ordeal! Though I am a diligent person about learning, and a conscientious one about work, indexing is so (frightfully/deliciously) multidimensional and complex! I benefited tremendously from both your skill and your compassion in communicating what I needed to be aware of, especially when my self-confidence hit rock bottom.” ~ Diane Johns

I can help with a number of issues, including:

  • Establishing a business can be challenging. Selling your services by writing letters to or cold-calling potential clients is an excruciating task for many people. I’ll help write and review letters, phone scripts, and other materials and will provide useful feedback about ways to improve your sales pitch. Many indexers have no idea how to begin writing these kinds of documents. I provide samples, as well has help people write their own documents in their own voice. I also assist indexers as they write templates of their indexing contract, write indexing resumes (after all, what is included on a resume before they have any paid experience?), and help them figure out how to reach out to potential clients and land that first paid project. 
  • On-call troubleshooting and guidance as you work on indexing projects. I’m happy to help people feel less overwhelmed as they juggle all the important details of freelance indexing: communicating with clients, keeping in mind technical rules of indexing, wrestling with indexing software, and writing a strong and useful index. I make myself available to people throughout the life of an indexing project, so they can get guidance, advice, and encouragement from an experienced professional exactly when they need it.
  • Reviewing indexes before they’re sent to clients or used as samples in marketing materials. Working together, we will be sure the index is as good as it can be before a client (or potential client) ever lays eyes on it. Because individual indexing styles are unique, I never impose my own writing style on someone else’s work. Rather, I help you maintain your style as you produce consistent and complete indexes.
  • Whatever you need, I’m interested in helping you in the ways you need help, so contact me if you have other ideas about how I could help as you begin your indexing career.

Business Issues

How this usually works… Let me know what you feel ready to do, and what you lack confidence or direction in. Tell me what your business insecurities are and I’ll tailor my assistance to target those areas.

“I just wanted to tell you I did a drastic rewrite of both my resume and cover letter based on your very helpful suggestions. I sent them off, and I think they are so much better thanks to your comments.” – anonymous (2003)

Some of the things I provide assistance with are:

  • Finding potential clients specializing in areas of interest to you. I help people compile lists of target publishers and explain the importance of approaching other publishers before contacting their A-list publishers.
  • Guidance and feedback in writing cold query letters, background statements (a.k.a. resumes), and marketing packages.
  • Guidance and feedback in writing documents and scripts helping you prepare for receiving your first project: contracts, invoices, prepare to answer questions that potential clients might ask, and prepare to ask questions about potential projects.
  • Anything else you need help with.

Ongoing Consultations

How this usually works… You contact me at any point in your process when you want guidance or want to bounce ideas off of an experienced indexer: from the first communication with the client to submitting an invoice. Send different parts of the index at different times in the process, or call me if you’re struggling with different aspects of indexing (for example, deciding on wording, appropriate levels of detail, or editing). It’s up to you! I’ve provided help for indexers unsure of what fee to quote to clients, help with writing contracts, and just about any step in the process you can imagine.

“Kari, you are a wonderful mentor! Very encouraging, attentive and honest. Thanks for all the help.” – Wendy Catalano

During indexing, I provide guidance and feedback on business issues like:

  • Asking useful questions before you agree to a fee or time schedule (i.e. how to sound like you know what you’re doing).
  • Writing an effective contract that covers critical details that should be part of every service agreement.
  • Asking questions about style as they arise: preparing to call or e-mail clients.
  • Dealing with client questions or concerns during indexing.
  • Invoicing clients – from providing sample invoices to writing notes that accompany invoices.

During indexing, I’ll provide feedback on indexing issues like those described below.

Editorial Reviews

How this usually works… Send me a copy of the index and the table-of-contents. I send you my editorial feedback. We can then discuss the feedback if you’d like. I’m happy to work face-to-face, email, my virtual meeting room, or on the phone – whatever is most convenient for you.

“I always appreciate your comments — your feedback is always concise and to the point. Thank you!!” – Margie Joy

In providing feedback, I focus on providing comments and opening discussions with you by asking questions like the following:

  • Is anything in the book missing or imbalanced in the index?
  • Does the index structure reinforce and emphasize the author’s approach?
  • Are the topics in the index relevant and important? Is the level of specificity appropriate for this text and consistent throughout the index?
  • Is the depth of indexing appropriate and consistent?
  • Is the phrasing appropriate, clear, and concise?
  • Are access points useful, logical, and well-written?
  • Are there adequate multiple access points (double-posts and cross-references) and do they suit the target audience for this particular text?
  • Are subheadings as clear as possible and representative of the text?
  • Are special features (such as illustrations, programming code, or tables) handled well?
  • Does the structure need to be tightened?
  • Is the client’s style guide consistently followed?
  • Does the index need to be condensed or whittled down to fit onto fewer pages? If so, how can it be done without compromising index quality?
“I have had a chance to look over your excellent comments on my index. You were incredibly thorough and made a number of excellent points…” – anonymous

I’m Game

Send me e-mail to let me know if you are interested in talking with me about any index consultation and editorial services that I can provide for you.

Fees and Scheduling

Send me e-mail if you’d like to get a price quote, to find out if my schedule will work for you, or to get a list of references from indexers who’ve used these services in the past.

Contact me as early as possible, so we can work out a schedule that works for both of us.

We can set a maximum number of hours, so there are no surprises when my invoice arrives. I devote a minimum of 2 hours per index, so my edits will be in-depth and useful. The maximum depends on you: how much input do you want from me? If I consult with you during the indexing process, the hours will depend on how much help you feel you need.

I’m happy to establish payment plans so my assistance is available to people in many income brackets. I accept credit card or check payments for the entire amount or for smaller amounts on a payment schedule. We can also make arrangements allowing you to wait until a client pays you before you begin paying me.