We’re running a series of interviews to introduce you all to our wonderfully talented group of independent indexers and taxonomists who enable us to say “yes” to the variety of project types and turnaround times our clients are looking for. Today, we’d like you to get to know our talented book indexer, Becky Hornyak.
PI: How long have you been an associate at Potomac Indexing?
PI: Tell us your indexing (or other information access system) origin story. All superheroes, including indexers, have an origin story.
While working as a case manager in a community mental health center, I found a book at the library entitled Careers for Bookworms and Other Literary Types. It told about ASI, and I contacted the organization and started the USDA course. Meanwhile, a local publisher advertised for indexers, so I took time off from work as a case manager to attend the training and became a part-time in-house indexer, indexing computer manuals and Complete Idiots Guides. I was mentored by Margie Towery as I transitioned to full-time freelance indexer.
PI: What are your specialties and/or favorite subjects?
Psychology is my favorite, as it was my field of study in college and graduate school. Also history, education, politics, public policy, international relations, social issues, and health.
PI: Pick one of your favorite subjects and tell us why it fascinates you.
History—have learned a lot from reading books I wouldn’t ever have read, leading to an education I never would have received otherwise.
PI: What’s your best productivity or indexing secret tip (that you are willing to share, that is)?
Focusing on rate per hour and translating that to number of pages to index per hour
PI: What do you consider the most challenging aspect of the work?
Scheduling and communication with clients about scheduling
Office with sit-stand desk
PI: Talk about your process (and this can be for book indexing or other related projects, like keyword tagging, embedded indexing, etc.). Any advice for other professionals—new and experienced?
Best thing I ever read was a comment by Do Mi Stauber to the effect of “Just do it.” In other words, don’t procrastinate, just start the work, and just keep at it. Sooner or later, every difficult, poorly edited, or boring project will be in your rearview mirror!
PI: What are your favorite/most-used tools, for indexing or other business purposes?
LevTech’s Entry Expander and IndexCheck, Excel spreadsheets, iPhone
PI: CINDEX, SKY or Macrex (or other)? What do you like best about your choice?
PI: Where do you live (just approximately, since this will be published on the Web)? And if you like, tell us a bit about your surroundings and folks you live with (including furry friends) if you wish.
Tennessee with a view of the mountains out my office window. I live with my retired (as of end of 2015) husband.
PI: Tell us about your hobbies. Are there specific ones you turn to as a break from work, or any that are a special treat in between or at the end of projects?
Since moving to TN, I’ve become a Master Gardener, and we have hiking regularly. I like to create things, like mosaic and needlepoint items.
PI: What’s the last book you read for fun?
The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
PI: Thanks so much, Becky!
Becky Hornyak has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Counseling, and worked in the fields of developmental disabilities and mental health. She has been indexing since 1996, first as an in-house indexer, then as a full-time freelance indexer, completing indexes for over 1,200 books. She is a member of the American Society for Indexing and served as officer for both the Heartland and Mid-Atlantic Chapters. Volunteer activities include docent at an historic property in Virginia for and Master Gardener in Tennessee. Find out more about her here: www.hornyakindex.com