WARNING! There’s No Warning!

So I’ve been seeing this argument on quite a few groups lately and I thought I’d jump in and give my 2 cents worth. The question of whether or not there should be a warning on books with strong language, sex and violence.  I don’t know if people have noticed but this particular argument lately is mostly aimed at indie writers. I don’t hear people hollering and complaining that there are no warnings on Stephen King, or George R.R. Martin books. God knows, they run on sex and violence and there is nary a warning to be found. So why the double standard for indie writers?

Look folks, if you’re an adult and you are browsing the section of the bookstore or website with books written by adults for other adults you need to be prepared to have any type of language or situation pop up in the books you read. Yes I can hear some people now saying, “Well I appreciate a warning because I don’t like those things.”  Fair enough if you don’t like that type of thing, but honestly, when was the last time you opened a book by a big name author that had any kind of warning at all? I mean for god sake, the entire plot for the Game of Thrones books is based on incest, and the language used by the characters is true to their nature, and in a lot of cases, that means swearing.

There are many things you can do if you want to avoid strong language, sex and violence in a book.

  1. Read the first few pages. Usually this will give you an idea of what the story is about, especially on Amazon where they have the whole, ‘look inside’ feature. I know for my eBook, The Vampires of Soldiers Cove, you can read right up to chapter 4 if you click on that feature. There’s been adult content up to that point and if you don’t like it don’t read it.
  2. Read the reviews. Chances are if there is adult content and the book has a decent amount of reviews someone has mentioned it.
  3. Look at the genre! I can’t stress this one enough. If sex and violence really make you that uncomfortable you are probably better off sticking to the YA section of the bookstore or website. I know lots of adults who read YA exclusively. That would never be me because in most YA books things are sanitized and it annoys me. It annoys me in the same way sex and violence annoy some others, so guess what? I DON’T USUALLY READ THEM!  I’ve seen some reviews recently on erotica books that rated them low because there was ‘too much sex’. Seriously?? The darn thing has EROTICA stamped on the genre!! Erotica = sex. Don’t like sex? Don’t read erotica!


So I have to say that even though my books contain sex, violence, and strong language you will NEVER see a warning on them. Not unless they come up with a book rating system similar to that which is used to judge movies that would be legally enforced. Why?  Because I’m an adult, writing about adults, for other adults. If you get that bent out of shape over certain situations, perhaps reading is the wrong hobby for you all together. God forbid you be offended! May I suggest pottery or knitting?  I have never done either but they seem like G rated activities and won’t get your blood pressure all sky high.



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3 responses to “WARNING! There’s No Warning!

  1. Tink

    Actually, I’d like a clear description for the opposite: NA books that border on YA with little to no language, sex, etc. If I’m looking in the romance and/or erotica departments, I’d like to be able to weed those out when they sneak in without having to slog through a gazillion reviews or reading the preview. Warnings shouldn’t be required for these types of books. As you said, you shop in those departments, you should know what to expect. I mean, it would be like going into an adult novelty store and being shocked at what they’re selling.

  2. I don’t do warnings either Jessica, not that there’s anything to warn about in my novels, but the fact of the matter is that I understand some things are typically inherent in certain genres, including sex in genres like NA and Erotica. I think if people are going to complain about sex in those genres, it should only be about whether it’s well written or not. Lol.
    And I get what you mean about YA being sanitized. We discussed this in my Adolescent Lit. course when reading Perks of Being a Wallflower and about whether teenagers should be reading it because of the realistic portrayal of contemporary teenagers having sex, doing drugs, and other things of that nature. My response to that is that teenagers aren’t that innocent so YA shouldn’t be as sanitized as it is even if some teenagers are the exception.
    Great post.

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