Kindle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, y'all,
I hope it's okay to ask this here? Apologies if not--no offence intended
Do you think content such as a little light spanking, or bondage during sex between consenting adults, warrants a trigger warning in the blurb? The genre is contemporary romance.
My editor thinks there should be a big, bold warning, but I don't think there should be anything at all, because I believe the blurb and the cover give an accurate representation of what the reader can expect from the story.
I'm basing that opinion on a lot of CR books I've read recently in which the characters are up to all kinds of steamy shenanigans that, by comparison, make my book read like something off the Early Learning shelf.
Would appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
light spanking/ playful bondage is not a trigger

why is an editor commenting on metadata/packaging anyway? don't they have a job to do that you're actually paying them for?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
nightwork said:
light spanking/ playful bondage is not a trigger

why is an editor commenting on metadata/packaging anyway? don't they have a job to do that you're actually paying them for?
Thanks, nightwork,
I thought not.
It's just her opinion, having edited the book. Most of the books she edits are CR or erotica/erotic romance, and she said that any 'sexual behavior which deviates from the norm' ??? should have a warning. The reason that most don't, she said, is because authors don't want their books going into the Amazon dungeon.
I'm not in conversation with her about it, but she's been editing for years, so I figured she must know what she's talking about.
Anyways, she made me think, which is why I posted. :)
Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
376 Posts
I disagree.  I think there should be a little something at the end of the blurb giving a head's up.  You never know how people will react.  At least there would be a little something for you to say, "You were warned."  I don't know how bold it needs to be.  You could say, "For mature audiences."  Or something.

What does your cover look like that it conveys spanking and bondage??  Haha, inquiring minds want to know.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
DebDougall said:
The reason that most don't, she said, is because authors don't want their books going into the Amazon dungeon.
If that if true then why is she suggesting you do something that would get your book put into "the amazon dungeon"?

I hope this editor is amazing at the actual job you paid her to do, which is edit the book, because suggestions like the one she gave you is grounds for never hiring her again, in my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
nightwork said:
light spanking/ playful bondage is not a trigger
That was my first reaction. But, I don't know, people can be 'triggered' by lots of things I wouldn't expect.

Though I do think that this would fall more into the category 'content warning' or even just 'content note'. Some people like that kind of stuff. Some people are put off by it. I think it's useful to mention so that you can attract the people who like it and let people who don't know that this isn't a book for them. But I don't know how the dungeon works, so I would probably prioritize not getting it put there over adding extra info for the customers.

It seems like the cover and/or title should indicate that this is a book that's likely to have light BDSM content. If the cover/title/blurb do indicate that it might be that kind of book, I don't think an additional warning is necessary. If they don't, the extra note might be helpful. But making sure at least one of the cover/title/blurb imply it's that kind of book might be a better idea.

RedAlert said:
You could say, "For mature audiences." Or something.
I don't think that's sufficient. "For mature audiences" usually implies there is likely to be fairly explicit sex. It doesn't imply there's light BDSM content. I'm sure there are lots of people who want explicit sex but not BDSM content. Any time you have a specific kink like that, when the reader already knows it's steamy, it might be a good idea to mention it. Like, if I'm looking for a sexy book and I pick this one up, not knowing it's got spanking, I would get to the part that's supposed to be sexy and just be totally put off because spanking doesn't appeal to me. Then (if I were a certain type of reader), I might leave a bad review about it. Better to warn up front in some way.

But again, all of that is less important than the threat of the dungeon, which I know little to nothing about. (Assuming the book isn't actual erotica that belongs in the erotica category, of course.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,613 Posts
I wouldn't put a trigger warning and I'd actually say that doesn't 'deviate from the norm'. It's something a lot of couples would've tried at least once :D

It might be worth putting something in the blurb about pushing limits or going out of their comfort zone. That should be enough of a hint of what's to come.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,851 Posts
DebDougall said:
Hi, y'all,
I hope it's okay to ask this here? Apologies if not--no offence intended
Do you think content such as a little light spanking, or bondage during sex between consenting adults, warrants a trigger warning in the blurb? The genre is contemporary romance.
My editor thinks there should be a big, bold warning, but I don't think there should be anything at all, because I believe the blurb and the cover give an accurate representation of what the reader can expect from the story.
I'm basing that opinion on a lot of CR books I've read recently in which the characters are up to all kinds of steamy shenanigans that, by comparison, make my book read like something off the Early Learning shelf.
Would appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks.
I recently assured a narrator who was going to record one of my books that there were no swear words, only to have him get the manuscript and come back complaining that pillock and pratt are words he simply could not say. So, I think a little warning might be in order. But it depends on the seriousness of the scenes, I think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
516 Posts
To paraphrase what other people have said already, the big risk isn't offending or upsetting people. The risk is that people who want that kind of thing in a book won't be able to find it, and the people who don't want it will be disappointed it's there. If it's a minor part of your story then don't worry about it.

But if it's a big part of the story it should be baked into the branding. Even if you have to be a little subtle about it depending on the rules of the marketplace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,147 Posts
I didn't know there was an adult dungeon for contemporary romance, but there is a list of things somewhere that helps erotica authors keep their books away from it -- keywords, words in the blurb, covers (what's acceptable, and what gets you into the dungeon, etc.), words used in the title, etc.

Maybe there are similar guidelines somewhere for romance authors, to keep them from similar pitfalls, if there are any.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
This is a really controversial topic. It depends on your unique situation with your book, imo.

I chose to add a content warning to my witch series because it has a young adult youthful vibe. I didn't want parents buying my college romance book for their kids. I felt like this was a socially responsible thing to do. But I didn't add content warnings to my other books which have sex scenes. I did instill language and situations that give a sense of book content to a buyer at the beginning of my story, though. I suppose if I could have rated my book "R" I would have.

You know, you're gonna get people who buy your books because of warnings and others who won't heed them and give you a bad review anyway. So, it really depends on your book.

Be cautious with BDSM (agree with jb1111^^). Amazon could categorize your book in erotica.

(edited for clarity)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
919 Posts
alhawke said:
Be cautious with BDSM (agree with jb1111^^). Amazon could categorize your book in erotica.
True, but it won't necessarily get you into the dungeon. I now have a whole bunch of erotic books and I have included a statement in the blurb of each to the effect that the book is 'erotica' and the story contains bad language. None of the them are in the dungeon.

However, when I first started with steam/erotic stuff, I did manage to get a book into the dungeon and it turned out to be because of the cover. Once I had figured that out, I changed the cover and asked Amazon if they would remove the book from the dungeon, which they actually did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
Pretty much all of my smutty books have BDSM in the subtitle, and I have never been dungeoned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,615 Posts
This risk isn't the dungeon, but rather being categorized as erotica. At one time, at least, putting trigger warnings in books would invariably get something put into erotica rather than romance. Sometimes it was proper, as people will try to get anything into romance for better search results.

Make sure the content is clear through the product description and categories. Depending on the cover, that could indicate what's in store for the reader. At best, you might want a note at the end indicating there are such sexual practices, but I don't consider that a trigger warning. Extreme abuse? Rape? Child abuse? Gruesome violence? That needs a more "trigger" warning than someone getting a little spanking for fun.

In the end, you won't be "right" either way. Someone will always find something to complain about, you'll never stop that from happening. All you can do is the best job of presenting your story, and move on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,279 Posts
BDSM keywords in your blurb may get you pushed into erotica. You need to keep it vague with terms like obey or demand or pushing limits.

This would be a content warning, not a trigger warning. Trigger warnings originally referred to content that can trigger compulsive behaviors like self harm or eating disorders or suicide and expanded to include content that can trigger PTSD episodes. The don't include content people might not like. Or content that might bum them out or challenge them in some way.

I don't think you need any warning for light BDSM, but you will have people who complain about said BDSM. Even if you warm them. I still get a lot of that in my books with very BDSMy blurbs.

Readers will always complain, no matter what you do. But it will be a very small vocal minority. Don't worry about it if you're including stuff that's pretty common in the genre.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,332 Posts
Your editor is dead wrong. I write stuff like that all the time with pretty covers and funny blurbs. Light BDSM no longer is outside the norm, certainly not in romance fiction. I speak as someone with an older mainstream contemporary romance audience. Studies show that most women at least enjoy these fantasies in a fairly mild form, even if they haven't tried things themselves, and post-50 Shades, they aren't afraid to say so. (Women who don't enjoy them and read romance are probably reading "clean" romance.)

I wrote books with that stuff in them for Montlake, which knows the romance market pretty darn well, and nobody ever suggested a content warning.

Occasionally I get a review for the smuttiness or the  nasty light bondage. Rare though.

I do have a funny, light content note, because my covers are usually not sexy. Something like--Note: This book, like New Zealand, contains some steam. If that isn't your cuppa, maybe visit another country--er, book.

If there is light BDSM, I will add "(absolutely and explicitly consensual)" before the word "steam." I am big on consent and communication and I want to let folks know that.

I don't put stronger warnings on there or alter the blurb & cover to signal "lots of sex!, because my books aren't "about" sex. The sex is an important part of the relationship, though--as it does tend to be in life.

I also flash big red signs before any edgier scene--bondage, anal sex, whatever--that this thing a reader may not like is coming up. I figure if that bugs them, I have given them every notice to skip a chapter. Bonus is that the big red signs are a plus for those who enjoy reading edgier sex. Anticipation is half the fun.

Good luck with your story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
First, ". . .make my book read like something off the Early Learning shelf" started my day with a laugh. Thank you for that!

Second, I am a writer who works and reads completely outside your genre (I write whodunnits and mysteries). Because of my genre, I assume that my readers are expecting dead bodies. Some victims experience more graphic deaths than others. Still, I can't ever remember seeing a trigger warning in any book from any of my colleagues that warns the reader to prepare for a particularly unpleasant death. Death, in all its myriad forms, is a potential part of any mystery or thriller.

I would assume that the same would hold true for a reader in your genre. It's a romance, contemporary or otherwise. There may very likely be sexual content (which seems a natural consequence of the romance part) and possibly spanking (or whatever. . . again, a possible consequence of the sexual content). You are writing for adults. Unless the sexual content is the framework or the plot engine for the rest of the book, it doesn't warrant a mention. Just my two cents as someone who has never read a CR title.

And to echo the comments of some of the other feedback above, I'd consider a new editor. I'm not questioning their work ethic or output, but you may want to find someone who is purely focused on your written words (if that's what you want) and/or is better entrenched in the standards of the business/marketing side of your genre (if you are looking for that kind of help).

Good luck with your book and keep up the good work!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Wow!
Thanks so much to everyone for the advice. I've been away and have only just seen the replies
You're all amazing! :-*
Just a couple of specifics I wanted to mention...

In response to RedAlert's question
Q: What does your cover look like that it conveys spanking and bondage?? Haha, inquiring minds want to know.
A: It isn't so much that the cover conveys spanking and bondage, RedAlert, rather that it indicates it's a steamy read and the couple on the front are going to be engaging in some hot sex. My bad for not making the clear in my original post!

And, to Doglover
Your narrator story made my ribs ache!

Thanks again to all. :D
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top