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Book indexing: The writing career you didn’t know existed

books

Is this a gorgeous bookstore or what? It’s Livraria Lello, in Porto, Portugal. Image courtesy of Ivo Rainha, Unsplash.

One of the nice things about being a writer in this day and age is that much of your work can be done from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection. You’re not limited to being in an office 100% of the time, unless you choose to be. You can write at home, a coffee shop, a library or anywhere else.

Lately, I’ve been following this particularly fascinating discussion thread on LinkedIn. One person asked about viable options to continue her freelance writing career, and someone else mentioned book indexing.

I’d never heard of this particular writing career, and I was intrigued. I never imagined that you could make a living from freelance book indexing, but you can.

It makes sense. Someone has to write those lengthy indexes at the back of books, so that readers can sift through them and find the pages that contain the information they’re looking for.

It also takes an analytical mind and the ability to work alone. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to have some expertise in the topic of the book or at least the ability to understand new concepts. And…..here’s the catch…..you have to LOVE books. 😉

There are even professional organizations dedicated to book indexing and training fledging indexers. The Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers is one such site. There’s also the American Society of Indexers, the Indexing Society of Canada and the Society of Indexers in the U.K.

In a way, book indexing reminds me a bit of search engine optimization (SEO). You’d have to understand the search terms that people would use, whether they were beginners or experts.

But still, it’s nice to know that there’s another career for writers out there. We get to enjoy professions such as bloggers, journalists and book reviewers and can work in a variety of fields. Lucky us.

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