Latest News & Sensitivity Readers – Apr 2019

Very exciting developments have been taking place. I’ve seen the final cover versions for both The Shadow Keepers and The Unadjusteds and they’ve absolutely blown me away. Book designers are geniuses and I’m so so pleased how well both reflect the books. I can’t share quite yet – but watch this space and keep an eye out on Twitter.

I’ve just started developmental edits for The Shadow Keepers and am nearing line edits for The Unadjusteds, which leads me on to….

Sensitivity Readers

What are they and why do we need them?

In the world we are living in today, we’re all trying to find our place in it and make sure that everyone, no matter what your background, your skin color, your sexuality or socio-economic status, is represented. That means that within books, we need to reflect the reality of the hardships some of these groups face. But not from a place of pity or charity, but from a place that shows truth and respect.

When you’re finished with your edits, a sensitivity reader will read your manuscript and check that it isn’t offensive/hurtful to any minority groups, whether this be in terms of mental health, diversity, LGBTQ+  – the list goes on and becomes more comprehensive each day. They will check your language to make sure words can’t be misinterpreted in a negative way and they will check your character representation to ensure that you don’t use these ‘minorities’ as a trope or a plot device.

There isn’t any one book that is singularly loved. And you will always have one star reviews and scathing criticism, no matter how many editors or how many years you spend on your book baby. You can’t please everyone. And the same goes with sensitivity readers. Just as you might gather feedback from 3, 4, or more CPs on your manuscript for writing craft, you need just as many ‘sensitive’ opinions. If they all highlight the same issue, then you know it’s something you need to deal with.

The world is a political melting pot out there, and with many areas in flux, compromise is the name of the game. At every step of a book baby’s life there are negotiations, denials, acceptance, grief, joy, excitement, fear…to name a few of the rollercoaster emotions. Every step contains hurdles that we have to find a way to leap over. But there is always a way, and one of the key words that get me through is…PERSEVERANCE!

Good luck to you all out there! And watch this space for more news about my books and my take on the writing world.

Further Reading

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/27/vetting-for-stereotypes-meet-publishings-sensitivity-readers

https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/281546/confessions-of-a-sensitivity-reader

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/problem-sensitivity-readers-isnt-think

https://bookmachine.org/2019/01/15/sensitivity-reading-what-you-need-to-know-and-why-it-matters/