Sensitivity Reading

 I am available to do sensitivity reading or answer questions in the following areas:


  • Power wheelchairs 
  • Spinal muscular atrophy 
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Being bisexual 
  • Being nonbinary (assigned female at birth)
  • Living in a group home
  • Living in a nursing home
  • Emotional abuse and manipulation 

What is sensitivity reading/consulting?

Sometimes your characters have lived experience that is totally different than yours. That doesn’t automatically mean you need a sensitivity reader, but if you’re writing about a community that is often misrepresented or stereotyped in the media, unconscious biases and lack of information can make it easy to accidentally write something that could be harmful or offensive to members of that community. Having someone from that community read your work and point out problematic areas isn’t a guarantee that your work will be free of issues, but it can eliminate a lot of problems before you go to print.

How it works

I can either read your entire manuscript or just portions that you feel might need help. I make notes about anything that could be read as offensive—from magical cure tropes to words that have complicated histories—and offer context as to why you should consider editing those parts. If I have good alternatives, I’ll suggest them or we can discuss ways to make it clear that you aren’t trying to be offensive or ignorant. (For example, if a character uses a slur and it was your intention for that specific character to be perceived as hateful, I might suggest another character cringe at his word use to show that you as the author made a purposeful choice to do that.)
I’m also an editor. If you’re open to it, I won’t go in depth with copy editing, but I will point out any grammatical errors I notice.
I can also answer general questions about my areas of experience without actually reading your work.
Though I have only had personal experience with my specific disabilities and orientations, I can offer general advice about disabled and queer people and situations because I am part of those communities and I am exposed to the experiences of other people in them. Anything specific or detailed, though, and I’ll try to direct you to more specialized resources.
Also, my suggestions are just that: suggestions. If you choose not to take them, that is absolutely your right.

Rates

I will work within your budget and I’m very willing to trade services if that’s better for you. Let me know what you can pay and what you think it’s worth.
For short stories or picture books, I would consider $5-$10 a good rate based on the amount of work I would put into it. For longer works, like novellas and novels, I would consider $25 a good starting rate.
This is not my main source of income, and I do it because I enjoy it and it gets much-needed positive representation out into the world. If your work is something I would want to read anyway, especially science-fiction or fantasy, I’m liable to ask for less.
Quick, easily answered questions are always free.

How to contact me

I can be reached through email at jenniferleerossman@gmail.com. Please put "Sensitivity read" or something similar in the subject line. You can also contact me on Twitter @JenLRossman

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