A: Technically, yes, but what you would end up with would be a concordance rather than an index. A concordance is a list of words found in the text, whereas an index is an organization of thoughts, ideas, and concepts. For example, in a book on investments, an author may use the idiom "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," referring to risk-taking. The words risk-taking may not be used and therefore software would not find it. An index entry of bush, or bird, would be useless.

Q: Can't I just have software do the job for me?

Indexing FAQs

Q: At what point in the publishing process is the index created?

A: Traditionally authors are responsible for the creation of the index, though the majority find a professional indexer to write the index for them. A few publishers have an indexing staff, but most of the time this part of the process is contracted out. I have had several instances in which an author will come to me after making an attempt at creating the index only to learn they do not have the tools, skills, or time to do so.

Q: Who is responsible for the creation of the index?

A: Indexers typically charge by indexable pages. Indexable pages refer to any formatted page with text on it and exclude such pages as blank, TOC, section dividers, and back material. I find typical trade books' indexable pages are 85-90% of their total page count.

The rate depends greatly on several factors: depth of book topic, size of the book, number of illustrations, project timeline, and publication type. You will find my rates competitive with other indexers with my level of experience and ranges from $3.50-$4.50 per indexable page. I do offer a discount for self-publishing authors, so be sure to ask for more information if that applies to you. 

A: At the very end. All edits and proofreading will need to b completed before handing off the book to an indexer. Even small changes to text can change pagination making the indexx worthless and requiring the project to start over (usually at the author's expense).

Q: How much should I budget when hiring an indexer?