Plenty of advice exists on how beginning and experienced indexers can build their client list. Generally these suggestions focus on contacting book publishers of which there are thousands. Indexers should move beyond these obvious sources and check into other avenues for new jobs. Sometimes major and long-term indexing projects exist with companies or organizations that indexers may not recognize as potential clients. Here are six good alternatives.
Municipal bodies often keep records of the proceedings of their meetings. Frequently this is a legal requirement. For example, a major metropolitan government utility in the Midwest is required by law not only to publish their Proceedings, but also to publish an annual index that runs over one hundred pages. A professional indexer does this work. It is quite lucrative. Some minimal research can tell an indexer what governmental organizations in their area exist and unearth whether they maintain transcripts or minutes of their meetings. You can find out whether these are published and whether or not these are indexed. In either case, nothing will be lost by making contact with the agency about your services.
Large and small corporations sometimes publish corporation histories, particularly when an anniversary such as a founding date approaches. Frequently these consist mostly of names of important personages in the company’s past. Do some research first about your local corporations or companies, particularly their history so you can write a good query letter about possible company histories. Read some advice to authors on writing query letters to sell articles—an index marketing letter is basically a query letter, so writing good ones is very important. Direct your marketing efforts at the company president.
Associations, large and small, may have annual meetings at which papers are presented. These papers then may be gathered and published as a book. These works need indexes. Check out the Gale Encyclopedia of Associations, which should be in any reasonably sized public library. Your local library may offer online access to the online version Associations Unlimited, which offers data on 22,000 U.S. national associations, 23,000 International associations, and 106,000 U.S. regional, state, and local associations In addition, the complete text of association membership and descriptive materials is available for 3,000 U.S. national associations.
Catalogs offer a wonderful source of easy to do indexes. These include both mail order catalogs, catalogs of parts such as tools, and college and university catalogs. For example New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies for years published (and may still do) three issues a year of their Bulletin. Indexing has been done by a professional indexer. If you have mail order firms in your area, get their catalog and give them a call to see who does their index. It is probably done in house, but perhaps you can sell them on a professional job. The same goes for parts manufacturers.
Contact local companies to see if they have employee or procedure manuals that might need an index. Local groups that run such things as group homes, youth centers, or similar operations may be required by licensing rules to maintain a complicated manual of procedures that could use an index.
Check resources at your local library to locate the names of smaller periodicals and journals. Get copies of their December issue and check whether there is an index. If not, write the editor suggesting your services.
If you want to build steady and repeating index work, do not limit your marketing just to the obvious book market. Be creative and think of all the other types of publications that could well be enhanced with an index.
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