Sensitivity Reading & Consulting

Christine brought an amazing attention to detail and a great amount of enthusiasm to their work on The Three Musketeers. They were able to dig into a wide range of narrative and character issues, focusing not just on the text but on the larger context of the story, and on what the book was ultimately trying to accomplish. I can quite honestly say that The Three Musketeers wouldn’t have been the book it is without Christine’s work and input, and I look forward to working with them again.

— Scott Fitzgerald Gray

Why use a sensitivity reader?

A sensitivity reader reads through a manuscript for issues of representation and for instances of bias on the page.  The goal of a sensitivity reader isn’t to edit a manuscript for clarity and logic, although that may be an additional service offered. A sensitivity reader reviews a manuscript for internalized bias and negatively charged language.  A sensitivity reader is there to help make sure you do not make a mistake, but they are also NOT a guarantee against making a mistake. – Writing in the Margins

Authors often struggle to approach writing from viewpoints not their own. I specialize in analyzing and providing feedback on works that include diverse, queer casts, representations of sexual trauma, and broader gender-based violence.

I have worked with Hugo Award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal on her upcoming novel, THE SPARE MAN, as well as with independent authors such as Scott Fitzgerald Gray, author of a queer retelling of THE THREE MUSKETEERS. In both cases, I assisted by providing ongoing feedback and editorial assistance after the initial read-through to ensure that all characters – queer and otherwise – were being portrayed in an authentic manner. Additionally, I sought to flag cases of unintentional gender coding for non-queer characters to help the authors ensure that they were not leaning on stereotypes or other gender-based assumptions. It is easy to fall into gendered, stereotypical patterns without being aware of it. These are pitfalls I can assist you in avoiding.

Read about my own experiences with sexual assault here for additional insight into my personal perspective on sexual trauma.

I provide sensitivity reads for works of fiction that include…

  • Queer / diverse ensemble casts
  • AFAB (assigned female at birth) nonbinary people, women, bisexual/pansexual people, and/or queer folks
  • Representations of sexism, patriarchy, gender-based violence, and the lived experiences of women or queer people within them
  • Representations of gender-neutral societies and/or social structures
  • Representations of sexual assault, harassment, and trauma, specifically portraying women, nonbinary, and queer folks

Please note that I cannot sensitivity read for BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) representations. Additionally, I cannot read for representations of cis male victims of sexual violence. That said, if I am reading your manuscript and it includes these things in addition to the types of representation I specialize in, I will flag any portions that stand out to me for your review. If you are unsure whether my background will be a good fit for your project, don’t hesitate to reach out for more details! You may also wish to take a look at Writing Diversely, as they may have a sensitivity reader who specializes in the subject matter your manuscript contains if I am not a good fit.

Genres I read:

  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Magical Realism
  • Horror
  • Retellings
  • Romance
  • Young Adult
  • Middle Grade

If you have a project that does not fit neatly into the above categories, I may nevertheless be open to taking it on. Contact me and we can discuss!

I can help you with…

  • Avoiding stereotypes and generalizations
  • Descriptions and authenticity of character interactions, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and experiences
  • Gender coding and stereotypes in characters and in relationships
  • Tactful, authentic portrayal of sexual assault and related trauma responses
  • Language surrounding gender representation
  • Normative assumptions (e.g., the idea that all nonbinary people seek androgyny, women all seeking motherhood, marriage, etc)

How I read and what I provide:

  • Full pass read through with chapter by chapter notes, noting both positives and negatives. This chronicles the journey of a new reader to your novel and assists in identifying patterns across chapters.
  • In-depth notes (approx 1 page) every 5-10 chapters as needed, discussing broader patterns as they emerge.
  • Final thoughts and overview in a 1-2 page document, analyzing the portrayal from a holistic perspective.
  • One hour Zoom call to discuss your manuscript face to face.

If you’d like any extras, such as additional video chats or a review of updated sections after initial read-through, my standard hourly rate is $35/hour with a half hour minimum. I will confirm with you prior to beginning any extra services to be clear that you understand this will be an additional line item.


Pricing & Payment

Sensitivity Consulting

Not sure if you’re on the right track? Send me a section of your manuscript for review. I will either provide 1-2 pages of written feedback, or we can have a 30-60 minute video chat about your writing.

Consulting Rates
Up to five pages: $35
Up to ten pages: $45
Up to 20 pages: $55



Full Sensitivity Read

An in-depth dive into your work with all deliverables described in “How I read and what I provide.”

Reading Rates 
5,000 words or fewer: $60 flat rate
5,001 – 10,000: $125 flat rate
10,001 – 30,000: $200 flat rate
30,001 – 50,000 : $300 flat rate
50,001+: $400  + (# of words above 50k) x ($.019 per word)
 
For example, if your novel is 65,000 words the rate would be: $400 + (15k) x ($0.019) = $685

After I confirm that your project is a good fit for me and confirm that you are still interesting in having me read, I will issue an invoice for a 50% down payment. Once payment has been received, I will confirm its receipt and begin reading your manuscript. After all standard deliverables have been issued, I will issue a second invoice for the remaining 50% and any additional line items requested over the course of the project.

If you are economically disadvantaged, I am willing to be flexible where payment and prices are concerned. Please include details of your situation when submitting, and we can chat about what will work for you.


Before you submit

Please ensure that your draft is free of major grammatical or formatting errors. My preferred format is .MOBI, but .ePub, Google Docs, and .docx are also acceptable.

If you have specific concerns, please communicate those in advance so I can focus on them in particular.

Sensitivity reading is not a guarantee that your story will be free from all problematic content. It is a way to catch major issues with representation or harmful text within your draft. Different readers will always have different perspectives – I will shine a light on as many interpretations as I can, but please understand that no sensitivity is a foolproof way to avoid accidentally including offensive or problematic content.

If your manuscript isn’t ready for a sensitivity reader but you’re interested in expanding your own knowledge, here are several resources I recommend in the meantime: Writing the Other, S. Qiouyi Lu’s recorded workshops and seminars, Writing Excuses Podcast.


Contact me about your manuscript

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