Why I offer authenticity reading

What is authenticity reading? What is an authenticity reader? Why is important and who needs one? This blog post will look at my services as an authenticity reader of LGBTQ+ content, although you can, of course, find authenticity readers for all sorts of other content too.

In a previous blog post, Who can write LGBTQ+ stories?, I said that anyone, yes anyone, can write about the LGBTQ+ community. It’s less about “write what you know” more “know what you write” (as subscribers to my newsletter will have read already.

It is for that very reason that I offer authenticity reading.

First, let’s look at what exactly is authenticity reading. I used to call it sensitivity reading but there has been a shift among professionals to calling the service an authenticity read. That’s because that is exactly what we are doing: not dealing with sensitivities (although we’ll look at that later), we are ensuring that the language used in a text is authentic. That is, does it truly reflect the language that the community use, is it an authentic experience and represents the lived experiences of the people being described.

That said, of course there is an element of sensitivity. But rather than producing a long, critical list of “you can’t say that…”, an authenticity read is about not doing harm.

Some look to portray the role of an authenticity reader as a censor or as people looking to “cancel” authors. This couldn’t be further from the truth. An authenticity reader is there to support authors to make their language genuine, to support authors from outside of the community to understand the impact of their language.

This is why I offer authenticity reading.

Anyone can write LGBTQ+ characters. After all, if we only wrote characters who are exactly like us, we’d never get the diversity we need in books. And that’s why I offer authenticity reads: for writers who are not from our community but are writing characters who are.

How does it work?

Like a beta reader, I will read your manuscript and offer you targeted feedback. This will include feedback on your:

  • language
  • story themes (as relating to LGBTQ+ people)
  • character development
  • historical context
  • any other pertinent details

If you hire me as your editor, I will be looking at this any when I work with your manuscript. But some people don’t have the budget for editing or are already working with another editor, which is why I offer authenticity reading as a standalone service that should be affordable for all authors.

If you want to find out more, please get in touch with me or read more blog posts about writing LGBTQ+ content. I look forward to hearing from you!

Nick (he/him) is an editor and proofreader, specialising in LGBTQ+ writing. He is an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and a member of PEN, the Professional Editors Network.

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Published by Nick Taylor | Editor & Proofreader

Editor and proofreader specialising in LGBTQ+ writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

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