Sensitivity Reading

Sensitivity readers review your manuscript with an eye for how you’ve portrayed certain experiences. They are cultural consultants with specialized knowledge about stereotypes, fallacies, and oppressions that marginalized people experience. Sensitivity readers also have in-depth knowledge of history and cultural nuances that outsiders can miss.

If you are writing outside of your background, it’s a good idea to hire a sensitivity reader. Several book launches have been mired in controversy over their negative representations of various groups—problems that could have been addressed anywhere in the publication process with a sensitivity reader.

My identity is multifaceted and includes being Chinese-American, a child of immigrants, nonbinary, bisexual, aromantic, atheist, agnostic, humanist, disabled, mentally ill, and fat, among others. I can’t create an exhaustive list of everything I can read for. Instead, if you’re interested in hiring me, please email me at s@qiouyi.lu with a description of your project and what concerns you have about representation.

Rates

My rate is 0.008 USD/word of your manuscript + $35/hr + a $50 flat rate writeup fee. The hourly rate is a rough estimate based on the length and complexity of your work. I charge a flat rate of $40 for poetry under 100 lines and $80 for poetry over 100 lines. Rates for poems over 1,000 words long follow the same formula above.

Here are some sample rates:

1,000-word flash fiction piece

Base Rate1,000 words × $0.008/word$8.00
Hourly Rate$35/hr × 1 hr$35.00
Writeup$50/writeup × 1 writeup$50.00
Total$93.00

3,000-word short story

Base Rate3,000 words × $0.008/word$24.00
Hourly Rate$35/hr × 3 hrs$105.00
Writeup$50/writeup × 1 writeup$50.00
Total$179.00

15,000-word novelette

Base Rate15,000 words × $0.008/word$120.00
Hourly Rate$35/hr × 6 hrs$210.00
Writeup$50/writeup × 1 writeup$50.00
Total$380.00

30,000-word novella

Base Rate30,000 words × $0.008/word$240.00
Hourly Rate$35/hr × 10 hrs$350.00
Writeup$50/writeup × 1 writeup$50.00
Total$640.00

80,000-word short novel

Base Rate80,000 words × $0.008/word$640.00
Hourly Rate$35/hr × 15 hrs$525.00
Writeup$50/writeup × 1 writeup$50.00
Total$1,215.00

120,000-word standard novel

Base Rate120,000 words × $0.008/word$960.00
Hourly Rate$35/hr × 20 hrs$700.00
Writeup$50/writeup × 1 writeup$50.00
Total$1,710.00

My rates are high for two reasons:

  1. Sensitivity reading requires a lot more emotional labor than standard editing. I have no way of knowing how much a given narrative will exhaust me, and I have no way of knowing if an author will react badly and cause emotional harm. I have to make it worth it for me to wade into that territory.
  2. I have several projects going on at any given time, including my own fiction and poetry, along with translation and editing. I don’t have an assistant, so I handle all my emails and invoices myself. I also maintain and update my site by myself. All this work often adds up to 40+ hrs/week. I frequently have to choose between opportunities to make my workload manageable. My rates for sensitivity reading have to be as competitive as, say, what I’d get for putting the same amount of time into a translation.

However, I’m willing to be flexible for self-published & indie authors without large budgets and for economically disadvantaged people, including people in poverty. Please email me at s@qiouyi.lu with a description of your situation and we can negotiate a more suitable rate for your budget.