Carol Roberts – Indexer

What is your specialism within book publishing? 

I index all kinds of nonfiction books: cookbooks, biographies, how-to books, you name it.


Can you describe what you do in 10 words or fewer?

I index books so authors don’t have to.

What led you to go freelance? 

The desire to be home with my children when they were small.


Do you work primarily for publishing companies or independent authors or a mix? 

A mix. Sometimes the publisher hires me directly, sometimes they give the author a list of indexers to choose from. Occasionally authors find their way to me all on their own.


What’s the best part of doing what you do?

Getting paid to read.


What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your freelance journey? 

How to ask for referrals. I’m shy and introverted, so learning to ask has been a challenge.


How many books are in your TBR (to be read) pile/list? And do you plan to read them all eventually? 

Just two at the moment, a self-help book about bullies and a spy novel by Le Carré. Sure, I’ll read them; I’ve already started both.


Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?

It depends. If I’m traveling, I like ebooks, because I can fit a whole library in my purse. Otherwise I much prefer printed books, which are more likely to have an index, color illustrations, and a classy design.


Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in publishing? 

If you’re considering freelance, don’t give up your day job until you have a nest egg of at least 6 month’s worth of income. The first year can be pretty tough, with only a few gigs until you build a client base.


What is your favourite children’s book and your favourite adult’s book? 

Children’s book: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. YA book: The Giver. Adult fiction: The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Adult nonfiction: Quiet.


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