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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do those of you that include mature language in your books add a notification of this fact in your product description? My latest has the occasional f-bomb in it (maybe 3 or 4), and I felt I should add a “Warning: contains mature language” or something like that in the PD. I know some people are very sensitive about things like that, so I want to head-off any potential returns and 1 star reviews from “Outraged in Oklahoma.”

I seem to recall that when you upload at KDP they have some section where you can note this (mature content)  - or I may be confusing this with CreateSpace – but I don’t know if it actually shows anywhere on your product page.
 
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The only time I have ever worried about a warning was with A Game of Blood, because the protagonist curses like a sailor. I generally don't write that way, but in this particular case it was an essential part of the character development. The only reason I worried about it, however, was precisely because my audience would not be accustomed to that type of language coming from a character I created. So I posted a short explanation on the Amazon page (not under the product description, but in the "This product's forum" section. It was more of an acknowledgement to my normal readers that yes, I know this is not what you are accustomed to, but here is why I did it.

But generally, no, I would not feel obligated to "warn" people for a few four-letter words here or there. Particularly in "aggressive" genres like horror or thrillers where the general audience expects coarser language at times.

You cannot protect against every wacko that might buy your book. You can only consider the norms of your target market.
 

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I would tend to assume a book written for adults may have the occasional bit of foul language unless there is some reason to really suspect otherwise (e.g., it's described as a 'sweet, light-hearted dialog between an irrepressible 10-year-old girl scout and her mom' versus something like "These raw and rough Liverpool* men pull no punches in their frank discussions of life and women"). Things get a bit complicated with YA books, but that's a whole other issue.

I supose if the book had like constant language, some indication might be in order, but if the blurb was done right (kind of like the Liverpool example), people shouldn't be surprised.

*I've nothing against Liverpool. It's just the first thing that came to mind for some reason. LOL.


 

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In the current culture, a few f-bombs are gnat noise.  Sorry to say.  The dominant culture has dominated most.  (In fact, there was just a piece, which I did not read, in the WSJ, which claimed that YA was descending into too much gore and depravity, or words to that effect.  This, in turn, generated a torrent of scornful twits or tweets and flaming emails)  Anyway, I digress.  Personally, in White Seed, there is one use of the f-word, very strategically placed, and one other expletive that I won't mention.  And in my Nam novel, Carl Melcher, there is only the occasional s-word, which, by the way, garnered several complaints.  Yes, the f-bomb would have made it more realistic, maybe, and I'm not saying I agree, but I wanted my kids to be able to read the book.  Silly, I know.

Don't fret.  I don't think you need a warning.

Best!
 

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I wrote a book about zombies, the end of the world and a Special Operations military force called The Dying of the Light: End.

This is the kind of thing you would expect to have "coarser language" - at least, I would. In fact, I'd expect it in just about any book involving elite military folks. Any book like that where there wasn't frequent and fluent cussing would be highly unrealistic.

That said, my brother - who was an infantryman in the Army - read my book as a beta reader. One of his suggestions was to cut back on the cursing. So I went through the book, searching for all instances of everyone's favorite f-word.

I had 76 instances. In 410 pages. Even I thought that was a bit much. So I edited it down, used a different word - or no cussing at all - where I could, but I still ended up with 43 of them. There's just no way to write that sort of book without it, and to remove any more would be a travesty, in my opinion.

So if "Outraged in Oklahoma" has something to say, they're free to say it. Assuming they would ever buy a book about zombies to begin with.

If it makes sense in the context, if it's not every other line, and if it doesn't bother YOU, then don't add the warning. I didn't add it to mine.
 

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I don't put a warning on my regular romances, even though characters do drop some f-bombs here and there.  I do put a warning for explicit language on my erotic stuff, because that's full of adult language.  But I don't think a few cuss words are worth posting a warning for.  It may depend on the genre, though; no one is likely to look at my naked dude covers and think "sweet, innocent romance for teens," so readers are sort of warned anyway. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
You cannot protect against every wacko that might buy your book. You can only consider the norms of your target market.
Thanks, Julie - sage advice indeed. You've changed my mind about adding it.

Mel, that's a great point that I hadn't considered.

jabeard, maybe I'll make them Scousers so people will automatically know what they're in for :D

Paul, thanks for the imput. I'll definitely skip the warning.

I guess, ultimately, it's a book for grownups written by a grownup, so people should expect it to reflect real life. Plus, my f-bombs aren't just tossed in casually for the sake of it - they're used when two people are arguing and reach the limit of their frustration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Jason Kristopher said:
If it makes sense in the context, if it's not every other line, and if it doesn't bother YOU, then don't add the warning.
Jason, it does, it isn't, and it doesn't, so I won't :) Good advice and thank you!

Ellen, that's a good point. I don't have naked dudes, but the cover is a lttle scary looking, so hopefully should ward off the faint of heart :eek:
 

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Mel Comley said:
I thought about how books are displayed in a bookshop, are they rated there?

I don't think so. ;)
Exactly this.

I have a warning in my book's description, but as I write an entirely different genre from yours, it's meant to be an enticement. ;) I don't include a language warning, and my book contains most of the words I know. *ahem*
 

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IME These days sh*t and f*ck are basically background noise! lol  (As a matter of fact, this very morning as I picked up some coffee in the supermarket, a young woman was standing in front of the display, talking to herself but loud enough so I could hear clearly. Her musings as she made her choice? Quote:  "I don't know sh*t about coffee."

Back OT, I did place a caution in the prod desc of Modern Women. These modern women pull no punches when they discuss men and sex. Here is how I worded my warning to the tender-hearted:

 Author’s note:  The sexual revolution transformed the lives of modern women and I write about this subject with candor and irreverence, the way women talk about sex when they think no one’s listening. Please do not buy Modern Women if easily offended.  I want readers to love my books, not be upset by them.
 

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Andrew Biss said:
Do those of you that include mature language in your books add a notification of this fact in your product description? My latest has the occasional f-bomb in it (maybe 3 or 4), and I felt I should add a "Warning: contains mature language" or something like that in the PD. I know some people are very sensitive about things like that, so I want to head-off any potential returns and 1 star reviews from "Outraged in Oklahoma."

I seem to recall that when you upload at KDP they have some section where you can note this (mature content) - or I may be confusing this with CreateSpace - but I don't know if it actually shows anywhere on your product page.
I think when I uploaded my Kindle file, Amazon asked did it contain 18+ content and I ticked yes - I forget where - but now I'm wondering if that was a bad idea, as it might hide it from general searches... ???
 

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Jason Kristopher said:
I wrote a book about zombies, the end of the world and a Special Operations military force called The Dying of the Light: End.

This is the kind of thing you would expect to have "coarser language" - at least, I would. In fact, I'd expect it in just about any book involving elite military folks. Any book like that where there wasn't frequent and fluent cussing would be highly unrealistic.

That said, my brother - who was an infantryman in the Army - read my book as a beta reader. One of his suggestions was to cut back on the cursing. So I went through the book, searching for all instances of everyone's favorite f-word.

I had 76 instances. In 410 pages. Even I thought that was a bit much. So I edited it down, used a different word - or no cussing at all - where I could, but I still ended up with 43 of them. There's just no way to write that sort of book without it, and to remove any more would be a travesty, in my opinion.

So if "Outraged in Oklahoma" has something to say, they're free to say it. Assuming they would ever buy a book about zombies to begin with.

If it makes sense in the context, if it's not every other line, and if it doesn't bother YOU, then don't add the warning. I didn't add it to mine.
I've written three zombie books so far, and so far the entire collection doesn't use the f-word. I went far to keep the language to an absolute minimum because I wanted them to be appropriate for virtually any age. Of course, there are some critics who say it feels "too young" the way I did it (for the lack of colorful metaphors and other reasons), so it's not easy to find the balance sometimes.

As to the original poster, if you feel it's something worth noting, go ahead and note it. It probably won't head off any negative reviews, but it could help the audience decide if the book is for them and that is more important.
 

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No, never do. I guess when a book is about the military or gay-themed, it's expected that it may have some swea words.  ;D  Heck, I even have my 12th Century Chinese characters use the F word (they had their version of it and it was used liberally).

Edward C. Patterson
 

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Mine's less about F-Bombs and more about the material itself, e.g. topics such as addiction, excess, mental health etc are addressed, and some of the acting out behaviours my characters indulge in are inappropriate material for younger readers, imo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Elijah Joon said:
if you have the f or s word in your sample, they should know right off the bat what kind of book it is.
Good point, Elijah. I just checked and the first one is on page 3, so that should serve well as a warning to potential buyers.

Also, have you noticed that if you type a swear word into your post and preview it, the system automatically adds asterisk or two to it. It's very cute. Maybe Kindles could be equipped with a button to press that activates something similar on the device for readers with sensitive dispositions.

And**w
 

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I have a page on my website that contains content advisories for all my stories, which give basic run-downs of violence, sex, offensive language, and notes on other content. I've been considering putting an alert of its existence in the product description, but I'm not convinced that's necessary. Folks who are really interested in checking will look me up. I did, as a kid, and even contacted some authors to ask.

However, I also do my best to make the first scene or chapter indicative of the rest of the story, so readers can quickly decide if it's a good fit for them or not.
 
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I've always thought "mature language" a misnomer. Maturity doesn't lead to cussing and swearing. What upsets folks most is a kid who uses gutter language. That becomes almost a hiliarious thing. Imagine a 9 year old boy who smokes and swears. It jolts the adult sensibilities. It's out of place.

Oh, wait. It's Huckleberry Finn.
 

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BrianKittrell said:
I've written three zombie books so far, and so far the entire collection doesn't use the f-word. I went far to keep the language to an absolute minimum because I wanted them to be appropriate for virtually any age. Of course, there are some critics who say it feels "too young" the way I did it (for the lack of colorful metaphors and other reasons), so it's not easy to find the balance sometimes.
I didn't think there could be a balance there. Dead people eating the living as they scream and die, written in a kid-friendly way? Why would you even attempt that?
 
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