If you’re happy with the work your copyeditor or proofreader did on your work, here are some ideas for how you can thank her.
Consider Her Suggestions
Even if you end up rejecting or ignoring her suggestions or comments, if you can find a way to show that you considered them and perhaps explain why you didn’t accept them, you’ll demonstrate that her work is valued rather than simply dismissed. It will help build trust between the two of you, which is essential for a collaborative environment. It will also help her learn your preferences so that, if you work together again in the future, both of you could end up doing less work since she won’t need to make changes that you’re going to reject—but that’s only possible if she understands why it was rejected.
This method isn’t a traditional way of saying thank you, but it is a way of showing respect, and that’s essential for building a long-term, cooperative relationship in which both of you can benefit for future projects. And she’ll know that her work is valued if you are willing to collaborate.
Let Her Know
The basic idea of letting your copyeditor or proofreader know that you’re happy with her work is easily overlooked when you are busy trying to get your work published. You may think it’s a no-brainer situation. However, just sending a kind, heartfelt e-mail to her to let her know how much you appreciate her work is cherished. Copyeditors and proofreaders often don’t know how the people we work with feel about our work—it is critical in nature, after all—so a note to say that you’re pleased with or grateful for your copyeditor’s or proofreader’s work could make her day. And you never know when she may be working on a difficult project, so that lift may be just what she needs.
Let Others Know
If you’d like to go a step further, it’s very helpful for freelance copyeditors and proofreaders if you take the time to share your opinion with others. People naturally prefer to work with freelancers who have solid references, just as we prefer to buy products with good reviews. Here are some places you can share your opinion with others.
Write a note on your own social media and link to your copyeditor’s or proofreader’s social media or website. Let your friends and family know that you’re happy with the editor’s work. You never know who might need a copyeditor or proofreader.
Write a note on your copyeditor’s or proofreader’s social media. If it’s a business social media page or account, leave a referral or recommendation (freelancers often have business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn). That way, even strangers will benefit from your experience and help to build trust in the copyeditor’s or proofreader’s work.
Freelancers can also set up their business with Google. If your copyeditor or proofreader has a business with Google, consider leaving a rating and review there as well. Again, strangers will feel more comfortable working with an editor who has solid reviews, particularly if the editor was just found through a web search rather than more personal means.
Sharing a testimonial for the copyeditor or proofreader to put on her website is another way to show her your appreciation. If you wrote a thank you e-mail, she may even ask if she can use your heartfelt, unpolished words as a testimonial since those often sound more genuine and enthusiastic than prepared responses. Saying yes to such a request is a fantastic way to say thank you.
Referrals and References
If you have any personal influence with others who may have need of a copyeditor or proofreader, referring them to your copyeditor or proofreader is perhaps the best way to thank her for her work. What could be better than sending more business her way? As I mentioned earlier, people prefer to work with an editor who has a solid reputation, and hearing about an editor’s work from a personal connection is even more influential. There’s a great chance that if you refer someone to your copyeditor or proofreader, she will get the job. And the more work she acquires, the more practice she gets so she can do an even better job on your next manuscript!
Even if you don’t currently have any personal influence with someone who might need a copyeditor or proofreader, you could offer or agree to be a reference for her should any potential clients ask to speak to someone. Your copyeditor or proofreader will be touched if you offer, and it’ll be good for her to know that you’re available should anyone ask.
You could include your copyeditor or proofreader in the acknowledgements section of your book. That shows your appreciation in a meaningful way because her work was valuable enough to deserve mention in your project. It may also reach a wider audience than the other methods I’ve mentioned.
Use Your Work as Proof
Another great way to show your gratitude for your copyeditor’s or proofreader’s work is to let her include you and your project as part of her portfolio, which shows others the types of projects she has successfully worked on.
Additionally, copyeditors and proofreaders may occasionally be asked to show evidence of their capability as an editor. If you’re willing to let your copyeditor or proofreader share a small portion of the work she did for you with others for the purposes of showing her capabilities, that would be helpful. You may be concerned about a stranger judging you for what you sent to the editor, but remember that the person is evaluating the editor’s knowledge and skill rather than yours and that there’s a reason they are looking to hire an editor—they need help too. Know that although your copyright as author is in place from the time you created your project, you may consider saving this particular method of thanking her for after your project is published.
Send Her a Book
One last way to thank your copyeditor or proofreader is to send her a book. If she worked on your novel, then sending her a signed copy of the published work is a great keepsake. Or perhaps the two of you discussed some books you both enjoyed, and you found out that there’s one you adored that she hadn’t read yet; you could send her that one as a gift. Lastly, there may be some professional books on copyediting or proofreading, or perhaps delving into other skills such as developmental editing or marketing, that she’s had her eye on. You could ask her if there’s anything like that she’d appreciate as a gift. I always have a few of those in my wish list—it’s best to keep learning!
Hopefully this list gives you some ideas on how to thank your copyeditor or proofreader. Just remember that the most important thank you is actually say it rather than assuming she knows it!