Sensitivity Editing

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 will take a deep dive into language, character work, and plot in a hyper-focused editorial analysis of your manuscript.

What is a sensitivity editor? How is it different from a sensitivity reader?

Most authors will be familiar with sensitivity readers rather than editors. Typically, sensitivity readers will provide a read-through of your manuscript alongside a few pages of general feedback. I take this a step further – this is a hyper-focused editorial pass with the intent of helping you take your manuscript to the next level. You can expect detailed write-ups, chapter by chapter notes, and opportunity to discuss how you can best fulfill your manuscript’s ultimate goals.

Why use a sensitivity editor?

A sensitivity editor can assist you in refining on-page representation of marginalized identities. I will analyze your character work, plot arcs, and more to identity areas with room for growth with a focus on representations of gender and trauma. I will also help you identify bias, offensive or negatively charged language, stereotypes, and other related issues. When appropriate, I will highlight opportunities to improve on-page representation of gender or trauma.

No sensitivity readers or editors can guarantee that your story will be free from all problematic content, nor can we guarantee that your representation will resonate perfectly with everyone with a particular identity. It is a way to catch major issues with representation or harmful text within your manuscript and take the next steps in exploring complex themes. Different readers will always have different perspectives – I will shine a light on as many interpretations as I can, but please understand that sensitivity reading/editing is not a foolproof way to avoid accidentally including offensive or problematic content.

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)

Read about my own experiences with sexual assault here for additional insight into my personal perspective on sexual trauma. I include my story here not to say that it makes me an authority, but to convey that authentic portrayals of sexual trauma and gendered violence in literature are deeply important to me. I care about helping you get it right, not just for myself, but for your future readers. When done well, on-page representations of sexual trauma can be cathartic rather than retraumatizing.

Representation I read for:

  • Queer sexuality including bisexual, pansexual, and sapphic representation
  • Nonbinary / queer gender identities, cis women
  • Gendered violence or trauma, patriarchy, and sexism
  • Sexual assault, rape, and harassment

I cannot sensitivity read for representations of BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color), neurodiverse, or disabled characters. I similarly 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
  • Horror
  • 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!

What I provide:

Final deliverables may differ slightly depending on the precise content of your manuscript. Please contact me using the form below for details. Short stories or novellas may not include chapter by chapter notes, for example.

  • 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, approximately 1 page in length, every 5-10 chapters as needed discussing broader patterns as they emerge.
  • Final thoughts and overview in a 1 to 3 page document, analyzing the portrayal from a holistic perspective.


If you’d like any extras, such as additional video chats or a review of updated sections after initial read-through, please see the Pricing & Payment section for my hourly rate.

Previously, I published an essay on the representation of sexual trauma in Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education. Read my essay here for an example of the type of feedback you can expect from my final thoughts document.

Turnaround time is approximately one month depending on the length of your manuscript.

Pricing & Payment:

Reading Rates

5,000 words or fewer: $100 flat rate
5,001 – 10,000: $150 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

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.

Payment Schedule

50% Down Payment
50% On Completion + Line Items
Monthly invoicing for additional services following completion

Details

After I confirm that your project is a good fit for me and confirm that you are still interested 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.

Please note that my prices are relatively high in large part because I sensitivity edit for material that may be traumatic or otherwise emotionally exhausting, especially in the case of sexual trauma. I cannot know ahead of time how a read will impact me or if an author will react poorly to critical feedback. It’s important to make sure this is worth both our time and that we are both serious about improving your manuscript and the on-page representation of queerness, trauma, and identity. In addition to this, I tend to provide highly in-depth feedback, frequently going above and beyond my stated deliverables when called for by the content of a given manuscript.

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

I accept excerpts if you are not ready for a full editorial pass. This is useful if you’d like some feedback to better understand if you’re gong in the right direction.

If you’re not yet ready to work with a sensitivity editor but you’re interested in expanding your own knowledge, here are several resources I recommend in the meantime: Writing the OtherS. Qiouyi Lu’s recorded workshops and seminarsWriting Excuses Podcast.

Interested in Submitting? Contact Me.