Your manuscript is ready for copy-edit. Everything has been thoroughly researched, but something is niggling at you.
Even with all the research, can you be sure that there's nothing problematic in the text or storyline? That stereotypes aren't being reinforced and perpetuated, and that nothing has crept in as a result of unconscious bias?
"The insight and subtle suggestions you have made throughout the manuscript have enabled me to make changes that I know will allow young people to see and feel themselves represented with respect, empathy and understanding."
Sita Brahmachari, Author
What is an Inclusion Read?
Inclusion reads highlight anything that may have slipped into a project as a result of unconscious bias, including negative mental health language (which you can read more about in my blog post), problematic descriptions of diverse characters, comments or portrayals that perpetuate stereotypes, ableism and more.
They take place at the copy-editing stage (ideally before or as part of the copyedit) and best practice would be to commission inclusion reads on all titles. This will ensure your projects are all as stereotype free, authentically inclusive and diverse as possible. Even if a title doesn't feature a particularly diverse cast, an inclusion read can ensure that it doesn't perpetuate stereotypes and point out opportunities for small changes that could make it more inclusive.
"Working with Beth was a pleasure: she gave clear, prompt, considered and very helpful expert advice and feedback on a project, which benefited hugely from her eye. I would absolutely work with Beth again on this type of inclusion read and would recommend her to others."
Natalie Doherty, Editorial Director, Penguin Random House
Is it a sensitivity read?
In a word, NO!
Sensitivity reads take place at a similar point in the editing process, but are usually focused on one facet of diversity and carried out by someone with lived experience. However, I believe that consultancy with people with lived experience should happen much earlier in the book creation process to ensure true authenticity (check out the Inclusive Minds network of Inclusion Ambassadors if you want support with this). An inclusion read should complement the research done earlier in the process, and is in no way a replacement for it.
How does it work?
You'll send me the latest version of the manuscript and any additional information that might be useful. I'll return a manuscript marked up with comments, and more in-depth notes on any particular problematic or recurring issues.
I can get very booked up, so it's advisable to book my time in advance when working out your schedule. I can occasionally fit in last minute projects, so it's worth getting in touch just in case.
"Your comments are incredibly useful and everything makes complete sense. As always your catches are brilliant, useful and well explained."
Lucy Brownridge, Editor, Wide-Eyed Editions and Frances Lincoln Children's Books
What's the investment?
Inclusion reads are usually carried out on middle grade and YA manuscripts.
For inclusion reads of longer manuscripts or more complex projects, including illustrated books, non-fiction and education resources, please get in touch for an estimate.
Got a question?
Please get in touch with any questions.