Meet a Fellow Heartlander: Tanya Bomsta
By Paula McCoy
This month’s member spotlight is on Tanya Bomsta, elected this year as co-president of the Heartland Chapter. Tanya took on these duties even as she was in the midst of moving to a new home with her husband and three small children. This demonstrates the commitment and dedication of so many independent indexers, people who seek not only to develop their own skills, knowledge, and contacts in the industry, but who also want to support their peers and contribute to the field as a whole.
Tanya now lives in Portsmouth, Ohio. Her husband, Brandon, graduated from medical school in May and has just begun his residency in Emergency Medicine. Tanya says, “We plan on being here for at least four years until he is done with his residency. After that, we’re not sure where we’ll end up, but we’ve both always liked the idea of living in Colorado.” No matter where she lives, Tanya will be able to index as much as she wants—that’s the advantage of an independent career like book indexing.
Tanya graduated in 2004 with a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University. Right now, she is a full-time mother to two girls and one boy, ages 5, 4, and 1. Indexing is part-time for her. She worked for many years as a catalog librarian, and says that if she ever feels the need or desire to go back to full-time work, she would love to get her masters in library science and go back to cataloging.
Tanya discovered indexing in a book about part-time careers. The connection was instantaneous: “Immediately upon seeing the word ‘indexing’ my heart leapt. I knew right away it was something that sounded perfect for me.” She looked into the American Society for Indexing and found that the Heartland Chapter was having a meeting only a month later, so she signed up to go. She loved meeting everyone in the chapter and finding out about indexing. Wasting no time, she enrolled in the UC Berkeley Indexing Theory and Application course and finished it within about four months.
So far, Tanya has indexed mostly textbooks, American history books, and biographies, although a book on acting was especially fun. She really enjoys indexing biographies and would like to attempt a literary criticism text. At the moment, she’s working on a twenty-book series on adolescent health, from which she is learning “all about controlled vocabularies and maintaining a similar index structure across the series.” Probably her only complaint is that her projects tend to come in “droughts and floods”—no jobs for months, then a spate of work in a single month.
Tanya has a website, www.inkpressindexing.com, where she displays samples of her work along with information about herself and her credentials. She says the only real marketing she’s done is her initial email campaign. She researched publishers and found the ones who work with topics she enjoys. Then she created a short résumé and cover letter and emailed about fifty publishers asking if she could send her materials. Of the ten that replied, four are now regular clients. Tanya has also gotten several jobs through networking. She says, “At this point, having more experience, I feel that I could do another marketing campaign and find more work, but with three little kids and a husband in residency, I feel like I have enough to focus on.”
Tanya says she would always like to keep indexing. She says, “It’s especially important to me as a stay-at-home mom to keep my skills up in case I ever need to re-enter the workforce. I also find that the intellectual challenge keeps me happy and motivated.”
© 2009 by Heartland Chapter of ASI. All rights reserved.