Sensitivity Reader Services

Current Status: I am open to requests for non-urgent sensitivity reading services.

Please read the entirety of this page before submitting a request or question.


Sensitivity Reading

A sensitivity reader is someone who reads over your manuscript to check for issues with its representation of marginalized identities. It is not the same thing as a beta reader. Sensitivity reading is about making sure that marginalized identities and communities are portrayed accurately and respectfully. I may consider offering beta reading services later, but as of right now I am focusing on sensitivity reading.

As a sensitivity reader, I will read every word of your manuscript at least once, make annotations, and then submit a report that documents all of the issues that I notice with explanations. An issue can range from specific words or sentences that are problematic to an overall character arc or major plot point that is a harmful trope. I will also provide suggestions regarding how to fix these issues where appropriate, which may require a complete overhaul of the manuscript, in the most extreme cases.

You can find further explanation of sensitivity readers at Writing in the Margins, which includes a database of sensitivity readers and was started by Justina Ireland.


Formal Credentials and Experience

  • I am currently enrolled in the MA/MS dual degree program for children’s literature and library information science at Simmons University.
  • I have a bachelor of arts degree in Asian American Studies with a minor in Asian Studies (focus: Taiwan) from the University of Texas at Austin (Spring 2016).
    • Major GPA: 4.0/4.0
    • Relevant Coursework:
      • Introduction to Asian American Studies
      • Mixed Race Identities
      • Asian American Media Cultures
      • Asian American Jurisprudence
      • Gender and Sexuality in Asian American Literature
      • South Asian Migration to the United States
      • Race, Internet, and Social Media
      • Reproductive Justice and Race
      • Introduction to the Study of Language
      • Linguistics of East Asian Languages
      • Taiwan: From Coloniality to Post-Coloniality
      • Translating Taiwan Cinema
      • First-Year Korean I & II
  • I completed a semester-long part-time internship at the Asian American Resource Center in Austin, Texas. My main project was to curate a digital exhibit that explained and illustrated the relationships between food and history for Asian Americans.
  • I held a part-time intern position under the National Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association. My responsibilities included writing articles, editing, and English-to-Chinese translation.
  • I held a part-time position as an editor and writer for the International Leadership Foundation. I did English-to-Chinese translation.

Informal Credentials and Experience

  • 28 years of life experience as a second generation Taiwanese American who speaks Taiwanese Mandarin and Taiwanese Hokkien with their parents/family, has visited Taiwan around 10 times for 5 weeks at a time, and has lived in Taiwan for about a year
  • 12 years of weekend classes in Chinese (Mandarin and written Chinese) and 4 years of weekend classes in Taiwanese Hokkien
  • Extensive extracurricular reading in women and gender studies, Taiwan studies, Asian American studies, and linguistics
  • Extracurricular participation in social justice-oriented retreats and organizations:
    • Queer People of Color and Allies
    • Queer & Asian
    • Asian Americans for the Arts and Humanities (co-founder and president)
    • Queer Leadership Initiative
    • Multicultural Leadership Institute
    • The CHANGE Institute
  • Years of exposure to Taiwanese/Chinese media (e.g. variety shows, dramas, Chinese-language comics, pop music)

Areas of Expertise

I have a number of areas of expertise, but it would be impossible to offer an exhaustive description of all of them and their extents. Below is a basic outline of topics/issues/identities I’m familiar with.

  • Taiwan, Taiwanese/diasporic Taiwanese characters (to a lesser extent, Chinese [American], East Asian [American] characters and Asian [American] characters in general)
  • Taiwanese history, politics, and culture
  • Chinese language usage, specifically Mandarin and Hokkien (not Cantonese or any other Chinese language/topolect)
  • Basics of Chinese philosophy, religion (Buddhism and Taoism), folklore, mythology, etc.
  • Dynastic/historical Chinese[-inspired] settings
  • Multilingualism and code-switching
  • Asian American history, politics, and social issues
  • Disapora, second generation immigrant experiences, hybrid and liminal identities
  • LGBTQIAP+ characters, specializing in transgender (AFAB), nonbinary/genderqueer/genderfluid, bi/pan, asexual and aromantic spectrum characters.
  • Mental illness, particularly depression (including self-harm, suicidal ideation, and psychiatric ward hospitalization), generalized and social anxiety (including panic attacks, agoraphobia, and dermatillomania)

Aside from reading for issues that are close to home for me, I will do a general sensitivity read for any kind of problematic content (e.g. antiblackness, Islamophobia, ableism, classism, etc.) that I see based on my knowledge. However, my knowledge and familiarity with certain identities are limited by my lack of first-hand personal experience. After I receive your request, we can discuss in greater detail what elements I am or am not comfortable giving feedback on and whether you should seek out an additional or alternative sensitivity reader for an aspect of your manuscript.


Past Clients

  • HarperCollins
  • Simon & Schuster
  • Hachette
  • Penguin Random House
  • Disney Hyperion
  • Oni Press

Testimonials

“Shenwei provided insight on culture and language that I would never have been able to identify without their comments. They were helpful and respectful, with an eye to identifying anything potentially problematic rather than prescriptively changing anything, citing sources, general practices, and a larger picture to give me the broadest idea of why something might need a second look rather than just informing me I was incorrect. Working with Shenwei was a very positive experience and I will definitely seek their opinions on future manuscripts.” – Caitlin Sangster, author

“Shenwei was a consummate professional from start to finish. They were responsive and timely, and their feedback was immensely valuable in ensuring the manuscript portrayed all cultures and identities in a respectful manner. Not only did Shenwei point out potential issues within the manuscript, but they also gave extensive reasoning and sources to back up their comments, which was incredibly helpful. I will definitely be keeping Shenwei in mind for future projects.” – Sarah McCabe, Assistant Editor (Simon Pulse, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

“Shenwei was an invaluable resource in bringing more sensitivity and authenticity to the project for which we engaged them. Just as important to me as an evaluation of a book’s content is an evaluation of its context—how it fits into the body of literature featuring a certain marginalized character or culture, any unfortunate tropes or stereotypes endemic to a category of literature that it might be reinforcing, etc. Shenwei was able to speak to both in ways that were comprehensive, helpful, and professional, and their insights produced valuable changes in the manuscript. I will be keeping them in mind for future sensitivity reads.” – Jordan Brown, Executive Editor (Walden Pond Press & Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins Children’s Books)


Reading Preferences

  • Young Adult – Any genre
  • Middle Grade – Any genre
  • New Adult/Adult – Any genre except erotica

Pricing

I will be up front in stating that I charge more than the average sensitivity reader. I believe everyone deserves fair compensation for their work, which includes taking into consideration their background, credentials, and experience(s). Given my highly specialized knowledge, formal degrees, and unique intersecting identities, I believe it is reasonable for me to charge higher rates than the average sensitivity reader who lacks my level of expertise and versatility.

That said, these rates are starting rates and are flexible and open to negotiation. I am willing to offer discounts to currently enrolled students (will require proof of enrollment) or people who are currently unemployed.

Here are the price brackets:

  • 5,000 words and under: $50 flat rate
  • 5,001-10,000 words: $50+(# words over 5,000) x ($0.01 per word)
  • 10,001-30,000 words: $100+(# words over 10,000) x ($0.0075 per word)
  • 30,001 and over: $250+(# words over 30,000) x ($0.005 per word)

The base fee for each price bracket is the maximum possible price from the previous bracket, e.g. $50+(5,000 words) x ($0.01 per word) = $100. All prices will be rounded to the nearest whole cent.


Payment Terms and Conditions

  • In general, I expect full payment prior to the rendering of services. Exceptions can be made if you have financial difficulties that prevent you from paying a large sum up front, in which case we can develop a payment schedule that accommodates your needs. In the case of scheduled payments, I will read the manuscript in chunks whose word count is proportional to how much money is paid at the time of payment.
  • I accept the following forms of payment:
    • PayPal (Note: a 3% transaction fee will be added to account for the fee that PayPal deducts when processing the transaction)
    • Check
    • Direct Deposit
  • Payment is nonrefundable, unless for some reason I am unable to complete the sensitivity reading, in which case I will prorate the original payment amount based on how far I have gotten through the manuscript, using the rate from the original payment calculation, and refund you the difference for the portion that I did not complete. This effectively means that the base fee is nonrefundable under any circumstances.
    • e.g. Your manuscript is 60,000 words, and I only read and provide feedback on 50,000 words. I will refund you (10,000 words) x ($0.005) = $50.

Privacy Terms and Conditions

  • My agreement to serve as a sensitivity reader does not constitute an endorsement of your work, a defense against criticism of your work, or a guarantee that your work is free of any and all biases. If you misuse my name for such purposes, you will be blacklisted.
  • I will not disclose any information regarding your manuscript to anyone but pre-approved parties prior to its final publication. After publication, I reserve the right to criticize the text of the finished copy.
    • As it pertains to the above: If my sensitivity read requires me to consult someone else with similar expertise (e.g. a family member) for clarification or a second opinion, I will request your explicit permission before discussing it with the person I consult and will not reveal your identity to them.
  • Should your manuscript be published, you may include my name in your acknowledgements.
  • I am willing to sign formal non-disclosure agreements that comply with the above.

Request Follow-Up

  • You can expect a response to your request with an acceptance or rejection within 3-5 business days. If I have not responded, you may follow up to ask about the status of your request.
  • If I think your manuscript and areas of focus for sensitivity reading are a good fit for me, I will discuss pricing and payment options with you if. Once we agree upon the payment amount, I can sign any non-disclosure agreement you have, if you have one. As soon as I receive the payment, I will begin the sensitivity reading.
  • If I reject your request, I will clearly state the reasoning behind it. Understand that rejection is not any statement against your manuscript. More likely than not, it has to with my personal preferences and comfort zones.

Have any questions? Ready to request?

 Please send all queries and requests to my email at shenweitchang@gmail.com.