A good index is more than just a list at the book of the book. It's a map that leads readers to their desired destination—the information they're looking for. Other hallmarks of a good index include:
Words/phrases related to substantive information in the book
Use of words and phrases recognized by the majority of readers
Multiple points of entry into the book with the use of judicious cross references
Accuracy (i.e., major concepts that appear in the book appear in the index; page numbers are correct)
Why Hire an Indexer?
As the author, you are intimately familiar with every facet of your text. It may be difficult for you to step into the shoes of a new reader. As an experienced indexer, I have the ability to take on the persona of a new reader, while at the same time develop the structure and content of a usable index.
What I Need to Start On Your Index
At a minimum, I'll need the following:
Readable, final page proofs, preferably via email in PDF form
Indexing specifications, such as an in-house style guide or instructions to use a well-known style (e.g., the Chicago Manual of Style)
Your time frame and publisher's deadline
My rates are per page and based on a variety of factors, including:
The complexity and density of the text
Whether illustrations and footnotes/endnotes are to be indexed
Whether you require only a subject index, or additional indexes
Whether the project is a "rush job"
If possible, I prefer to review a chapter of your manuscript before I provide a cost estimate.