As writers, we have the option to utilize–sometimes for pay, sometimes not–a variety of readers and editors along the road to publication. What they provide varies with their role; critique partners offer different feedback than beta readers, copy editors different than developmental editors, and so on.
A relatively new type of reader to come on to the scene is the sensitivity reader. New, but no less important, especially if you’re writing about a marginalized character. The main character in one of my own novels is an example. She has a different cultural background than I do. The story itself doesn’t revolve around her culture, but the culture did help shape who she is. I decided, therefore, to hire a sensitivity reader.
When I mentioned to other writers that I’d taken that path, I got a few common questions about it. So, I thought I’d answer some of them here.