Sensitivity reads are a way for authors to get an experienced, outside perspective on their work before they move forward with the publishing process. I like to think of them more as accuracy reads because if your target audience reacts negatively to your work, it isn’t going to be because they were “too sensitive”. It’ll be because some of the characters, events, experiences, or places you needed to invent (because you don’t have a personal experience to write from) are uncomfortable to read for people who have lived what you’re imagining, and their lives weren’t what you wrote. I can help you to see what might not be read as accurate, for your readers.
With this service, I will read your manuscript, looking for any unintended issues with representation, including negatively-charged language or internalized bias. After, I’ll create a detailed letter for you, outlining these issues, with suggestions for your next revision.
Reading a manuscript specifically to address these issues requires experience as an editor, as a reader, and having gone through or surviving the circumstances or events that an author might need a little help to see clearly. I have personal experience in the following areas:
- Being autistic
- Being hard of hearing, losing your hearing over time
- Growing up in extreme poverty
- Surviving child physical abuse
- Surviving rape/sexual abuse
- Bisexuality, coming out, being queer
- Polyamory/group marriage/family
- Sex work
- Transitioning spouse
- Parenting special needs
This also includes reading for accuracy of life experience in ways you might not have considered, like where you set your stories, what kind of college your main character goes to, or what was happening in a certain location a couple of decades ago. For those kings of stories, I can also read with experience of:
- Ivy university (University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University)
- Central CA from the 1970s through 1990s (Ceres/Modesto, Sonora)
- SF/Bay Area 1990s through 2000s
- Philadelphia, PA/Trenton, NJ
- Central NY state
This partial list of my expertise isn’t just a bunch of subject areas. It’s my life. My history. What I’ve endured or overcome or come to terms with; I know, intimately, how your characters might react in similar situations, and I have the skills as an editor to translate my experiences into useful observations and suggestions.
A sensitivity read is $30 per 10,000 words, and depending on the length of the manuscript, usually takes less than a week to complete. The manuscript should be free from errors and submission-ready; a sensitivity read does not include editing services (though you can hire me for that as well). You can contact me here with any questions, or to schedule your read.