Sensitivity Reading

Reflecting the diversity of the world in our books is vitally important. But the further we venture from our own lived experience, the more likely it is that we will need to check in with someone who knows more than we do about that experience.

That’s what a sensitivity reader (or “authenticity reader”) is for. Sensitivity readers are a kind of editor; we look at what you’ve written, and then – rather than correcting your grammar, or recommending that the love interest have a bit more of a backstory – we provide feedback on the representation of characters who are within our own marginalization. Anyone who hires a sensitivity reader is well-meaning (it’s a great thing to do!), but even the most well-meaning of us can get things wrong. Having a sensitivity reader look at our work is a way to avoid the kind of bad representation that helped give us our incorrect ideas in the first place.

I have been offering sensitivity reading services since 2017. I’ve worked with all of the major publishers, with people who don’t even have an agent yet, with journalists, with video game developers, and more. No matter who has created a work or how I come across it, I give it the same careful attention.

The main areas I do sensitivity readings for are deafness and sign language usage. (This does not have to be ASL – it’s not uncommon to read for a fantasy novel that includes an invented sign language.) I will also address cochlear implants, hearing aids, and hearing loss generally (related to but a little different from “deafness”). I am also willing to read for general disability representation, but ask that if so, you also get a sensitivity reader who has lived experience with that specific disability. For example, if one of your characters uses a wheelchair, then I am willing to address some big-picture elements of disability, but my ability to provide specific feedback is limited.

Contact me for rates. I accept payment via check, Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay.

Upon receipt of your manuscript, article, etc., I will usually have a thorough report to you within three weeks. I can usually expedite that if needed (for a fee). There may be exceptions based on workload; I will let you know during our initial correspondence.

What People Say

Jenna’s honest and straightforward feedback was clear, concise, and helped me understand issues I wouldn’t have known on my own. I’m forever grateful for her notes!

Kacen Callender

We were so lucky to have been able to work with Jenna! Her prompt responses, keen insight, and thoughtful, specific suggestions were incredibly instrumental and invaluable to us throughout revisions.

Kate Metzler
Editor at Roaring Books Press

Let’s make representation better!

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