Indexing by Starfish House

Processes and costs.

  • Starfish House’s base charge for indexing is derived from the number of indexable proof pages. Our standard rate is $4.25 per indexable page (around the middle of the American Society for Indexing’s recommended rates).
  • Front matter is not included in the indexable page count (i.e., title pages, table of contents, acknowledgments, etc.). Blank pages and bibliographies are not included.
  • Footnotes or endnotes are only indexed if they have substantive content, but not if they simply cite a source.
  • The author(s) or editor(s) will be provided with a draft index for review. There is no additional charge for revisions, corrections, additions, or reformatting.
  • During the process of indexing we may contact the author with questions, requests for clarification, or notes. There is no additional charge for this part of the service.
  • The index will be prepared and formatted according to the publisher’s guidelines. If the publisher has specified a limited number of pages for your index, it is important to let us know.
  • Upon receipt of the proofs to be indexed, we will provide an official estimate of the total charge. Acknowledgment of receipt of this estimate will constitute a contract between the author(s) or editor(s) and Starfish House Editorial Services.
  • We sometimes undertake embedded indexes. In such cases we calculate the charge based on the proofs, if provided. Without proofs it is often difficult to calculate the number of pages that will appear in print; a loose estimate relies on factoring the publisher’s average number of words-per-page with the manuscript word-count. We will not index any manuscript before copy-editing has been completed.
  • In rare cases when a rush job is taken on, there will be a 10% surcharge on the final bill.

How do we go about indexing?

  • First we read the book from front to back. This is necessary to get a sense of the scope, ideas, and main arguments of the work.
  • As Isaac Disraeli once observed, indexes lay “open the nerves and arteries of a book.” Indexing academic books in the humanities and social sciences goes beyond creating a list of names and key terms. Rather, it requires the creation of a topography of the author’s ideas, theories, and arguments. Though software may be a useful accessory, this work cannot be done with software alone. A good index is an abbreviated anatomy of its book.
  • We compile the index gradually, page by page, sometimes flashing forward through the text to check on how an individual or a concept develops. After a working draft is completed, we recheck and proofread the headings, subheadings, and locators.
  • The draft index goes to the author(s) or editor(s), who review it. After any necessary adjustments are made, the author(s) or editor(s) send it to the publisher.