Warning Labels on Books?

I received an email on one of the places I rarely go, Goodreads.  My feelings about the cesspit that Goodreads has become aside, I read the email.

The person in question wrote a rant suggesting if my book contained a variety of things it should have a warning label or something.  They also equated being gay to BDSM or RAPE.

Let’s be clear.  It is no secret I was attacked at a young age.  Because the character in question is based on me, she experienced the same thing.  It is not discussed in any great or graphic detail, nor does she actually say it.  It happens off camera and is eluded to later.  I am not going to put that it is a “rape book” on the outside.  It isn’t, and trying to pretend rape isn’t something that happens to 300000 women every year is part of the problem. Maybe if more books showed what it does to people and discussed how many perpetrators are never prosecuted like Ashen Rayne does, people would do something.

I will never write a book that includes a graphic scene of rape, nor will I ever include a disclaimer on a book or delete scene commented on by one out of ten thousand people.  The character had an off camera event that shaped her for the rest of her life.  Get over it.

Which brings me to the part that really pissed me off.  Equating being gay to being a rapist or pedophile and demanding the book include a warning that a character is gay.

Gay people are not some sort of deviants, they are not malicious or evil, they are just people born with a different sexual preference.  I am gay, for crying out loud.  More Christian priests have attacked young men in the last fifty years than have been attacked by gay people ever.

This is also not 1955.  Being gay is only taboo to a handful of people and expecting people to “warn you” you might read about one is ridiculous.  Besides, the book was a #1 bestseller in LGBT mystery… that should kind of be a clue.

Sure, in erotica where not everyone has the same kink, maybe saying it is bdsm on the back is necessary.  In a horror thriller novel, not so much.  Not in my world, not ever.






2 thoughts on “Warning Labels on Books?

  1. I considered this sort of rant against my books (and have gotten a few). My stories have sex scenes, there is profanity, several of the characters have PTSD symptoms from a variety of past events including one character whose childhood was particularly awful who copes with a cafeteria of mental challenges. That said, the story is about how they cope with this baggage – with humor, music, etc.

    So, do I cover the jacket with trigger warnings? Slap big red labels on it so no one’s little puritan sensibilities are offended?
    Bleh – screw them. Hey, use them as advertising. 😉

  2. You know me, Brad. Generally, I don’t give a crap what someone complains about, especially if they are whining because they are offended. They can go sit in the corner and be offended.

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