The Importance of Sensitivity Readers

With: Katherine McIntyre

One of the newer, but important, things to crop up in the book world have been sensitivity readers, which have been utilized by authors and publishers far and wide. As the push for more inclusivity becomes a growing force, these readers are more important than ever to ensure that the representation of marginalized groups are being upheld with authenticity. It’s becoming more and more apparent that while being inclusive is a good thing, bad representation can be very harmful and more of a setback than a help.

            One of the best things about writing and reading is how much it teaches empathy. When you read a book, when you write a character, you’re not just watching them unfold on a screen—you’re in their headspace. Their perspective is shaped by their experiences, and while an author can mentally attempt to place themselves in someone else’s shoes when they write, they step to the plate with their own experience and bias.

            What a sensitivity reader does is weigh in from personal experience on the situation that the writer may not have a full breadth of knowledge on. While including diverse characters is important, an author may unintentionally be perpetuating racist stereotypes, for example, the tendency for white authors to describe Asian characters with almond eyes. That sort of cultural insensitivity is a red flag for savvy readers nowadays and having a sensitivity reader mark off issues such as that is integral for releasing quality work.

            In my latest release, Forged Contracts, I included a bi-polar lead, so having a sensitivity reader was of utmost importance. With all of the harmful stereotypes out there about mental illness, the last thing I wanted to do was contribute to ignorance. By working with a sensitivity reader, I was able to correct any misinformation, and in all honesty, I learned a lot in the process. So, if you’re sitting down to write characters from a marginalized group, I can’t recommend enough to make sure you’ve not only done your homework, but also gotten that second pair of eyes on the subject. It will make a massive difference not only in the quality of your story, but in your own worldview.

FORGED CONTRACTS

When Jer kisses his best friend Raven, the feelings they’ve been avoiding surface—including secrets from the past that might destroy them both.

Jeremiah Taylor’s responsibilities as the new pack beta are crushing him, especially with the unpredictable mood shifts since his shaman-supplied bipolar meds ran out. It’s the combination for doing something stupid, like kissing the one woman he’s never let himself pursue—his best friend Raven Takahashi.

When Finn left the Red Rock pack, Raven’s on and off again fling took her safety net with him—the one barrier keeping her from the raw and real way she feels around Jer. The moment the Pandora’s box opens after they kiss, she can no longer deny the sparks between them or hide from the demons of her past.

And when one of those demons shows up in Beaver Tavern representing an anti-shifter group to take over their land, Raven’s secrets threaten to get dragged into the light, which could cost her everything—her friends, her pack, and her home. However, if she and Jer don’t thwart the anti-shifter group’s takeover attempts, the entire Red Rock pack might find themselves banished from their own land.

Purchase Links: http://books2read.com/u/4NZdDY

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