Warnings and Ratings for Books

I’ve poo-pooed this idea before, about putting ratings and warnings on books, but the more I read, the more I’m totally for it.

When it comes to the rating systems, I am a fan of the one used for video games. On the package of any game will be a black and white box. On one side is the rating, (ie E for everyone, M for mature), but then on the other side is a list of WHY the rating is what it is. Some of those reasons include sexual themes, violence, blood and gore, intense violence, cartoon violence and mischief, and use of alcohol and drugs.

There are books written for adults that would garner a E rating, but then there are young adult books that would be M. I, personally, would like more of a heads up when I’m looking into reading a book. I want to know a rating and WHY that rating is what it is. Are there sexual scene? Violent scenes? I’m not opposed to either one of them, but I want to be prepared. 

Like when you’re on a fan fiction sight – you generally know up front if there’s going to be sex in a story. That’s what the M rating means. You’ll also know if it’s gay sex or straight sex. I wish books had some kind of a rating system in which these things were put – the level of violence, the level of romance and the type of romance, and that type of thing.

…not that I have ever gone onto a fan fiction sight… cough.

And, while I understand putting trigger warnings on books, I can see that getting wildly out of hand. By trigger warnings, I mean certain topics that some people are sensitive to, like rape, torture, war scenes – but, should we list those things plainly on the cover? Or would it be better to insert a page in the front, a disclaimer to those who may be sensitive to certain things that are in the book?

I do not want to pick up a book and then be surprised by a rape scene. Nor do I like excessive violence. I’d like to be prepared for those things. Mentally prepared. I’m not saying I do, but IF I did write fan fiction ,I’d put a disclaimer at the beginning of each chapter, to which I’d add notes if there was some violence or sex. I’d like my readers to feel prepared, too.

I’m on the bandwagon for ratings on books AND disclaimer pages. Whoo!

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