Interesting post today over at Dear Author about whether it’s good to put specific content labels on fiction, which in practice seems to mean “warning” labels for erotic fiction. Some publishers like them a lot, and I’ve read books that specify there’ll be threesomes, anal sex, D/s and what not inside. Mostly though, I admit I tend not to pay too much attention to these, because I like to be surprised when I read, and I find that these can sometimes be a bit spoiler-ish.
That said, there’s a lot about books to give you clues about what kind of book it’s going to be, so maybe a content label is just a more straightforward version of this? We have the book’s title, for one. Some words are so common in Romance titles, I sometimes have troubles remembering titles of books I’ve loved. E.g. notice the number of historical romances with the words scandal, sin or duke in them.
Then there are the visual queues, like the font, the font color, and of course the picture itself. Skinny woman dressed in leather, perhaps viewed from behind while she glances at us over her shoulder? Paranormal. Bright colors or cartoon-ish elements? Contemporary with a lighter/more humorous tone. Bold fonts, nearly naked people, and dim lighting? Erotic romance.
But I guess when it comes right down to it, these things don’t highlight the specific kinks or tropes the book will employ, so if anyone wants to avoid or locate something specific, a content label might be the way to go. Only, they’re harder to miss for those of us who even avoid blurbs… Me, I go for samples all the way. Does it seem possible a book might remotely interest me? Click–sample downloaded!
Also, it’s always struck me as a bit strange that we’d need to warn people off from sexual content, as if it’s something so potentially dangerous. I’ve never seen any warnings about violence in books, for instance. On the other hand, if someone has specific triggers that make them feel bad, I’d certainly be up for helping them avoid it. Though again, isn’t those triggers likelier to include violence than sex?
How about you, do you like these content labels? Do you look for them, or try to avoid them?