Sensitivity reading, also referred to as diversity reading, and other techniques such as inclusive language use are gaining increasing importance in the publishing industry. Sensitivity reading has also been considered a subset of beta readers. If you’re unfamiliar with sensitivity reading and wondering how to hire a sensitivity reader, here’s a brief primer.
A sensitivity reader is someone recruited to read and evaluate a book with a specific topic of representation in mind, one with which they are familiar. Because the author is typically not a member of that minority group (African-American, Hispanic, Asian, LQBTQ, etc.) or does not have firsthand experience with the subject matter they are writing about. The sensitivity reader is recruited to evaluate the book.
How to Hire A Sensitivity Reader
Things to consider before approaching:
- The author or writer should anticipate paying the sensitivity reader for the service they will render. Their efforts are significant and should be rewarded.
- The author should be eager to learn and face them with an open mind.
- Authors must expect that the sensitivity reader will not have all the solutions or answers. They can only speak for themselves. They do not and cannot speak for the entirety of their nation.
- The authors or writers are mindful of the emotional toll that this procedure entails and recognize that they may reject your proposal.
- The author or writers should read! Consume works written by indigenous writers will provide them with valuable insight on how to approach the subject.
- Be truthful to yourself. Consider if you should be creating these stories after reading works by indigenous authors. Then, consider how you might be a polite and responsible representative of the culture you are representing. After perusing this list, the author may determine that they require the assistance of a sensitivity reader.
Hereabouts are few tips to aid you in hiring a sensitivity reader:
- To begin, establish a relationship with the community about which you are writing. If you have no connection to this community, you have no right to write about it.
- Under no circumstances could this rule be broken: “You may not write about Indigenous People without an Indigenous person.”
- Consider approaching a member of the community. This is preferable if you have a relationship with them. If this individual is a community Elder, ensure that you follow proper protocol.
- Additionally, you may explore contacting an Indigenous author or scholar with whom you have a relationship.
- The influence of word of mouth is immense. Inquire! Sensitivity There are readers out there, but they frequently lack personal websites to market their services.
Note: Once you’ve identified a sensitive reader, nurture your relationship with them throughout your engagement with them. Numerous Indigenous cultures are relational and reciprocal in nature.
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