Content and Trigger Warnings in Books

Content or trigger warnings are something we’ve seen a lot in internet. But what are they actually and why they’re important to include one in books? In this Let’s Talk Bookish post, a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books, I’m going to talk further about content and trigger warnings and why they’re important to include in books and reviews.

What is content and trigger warning?

Content warning (CW for short) is a tag to describe sensitive contents that may potentially affect readers negatively. This term refer to things that aren’t exactly traumatic, but may cause readers to feel uncomfortable to read it. Trigger warning (TW for short) is a tag to describe contents that may trigger readers’ traumatic experience which leads to mental or physical reaction.

Is it important to include them?

I personally think it’s important to include trigger and content warnings. Many people may not take this thing seriously, but it’s all about choosing which books they may enjoy or not. Keep this in mind that just because your books contain a lot of trigger or content warnings, it doesn’t mean your books are bad or people will judge your books for that. Putting trigger and content warnings means you’re helping your readers to know what should they expect from your books. It’s not something to turn your readers away from you, but it’s something to make your readers aware of contents in your books.

If a book doesn’t contain trigger and content warnings and we found many in the book, it’s our job as a reviewer to include them in our reviews. It may be a short list of contents, but it may helps someone out there.

Isn’t it going to spoil the whole thing?

Yes and no. Contents and trigger warnings can give readers heads up of what’s going to happen in the book but it is not necessary spoil the whole thing. Readers still don’t know the whole scene, or if these things happen to main or side characters. It’s like that meme of “spoiler without context” where readers are given vague context rather than full scene spoilers.

Remember…

That authors and reviewers are human too. Sometimes we miss things to put in our content and trigger warnings list and that’s okay. It’s our job as readers, authors and reviewers to keep educating ourselves in this matter.

When reviewing and recommending books, I try my best to always include trigger and content warnings on them. It’s okay if you, as my friend, message me to say if I miss put one or two warnings.

You can also help putting out trigger and content warnings on your social media, so other readers that possibly be affected with the contents can reconsider their decision to read particular books.

Start using content and trigger warnings from now on

It’s now or never. Remember, you can always ask others if you’re not sure whether or not the context may be triggering. You may be wondering where to put content and trigger warnings, considering there’s no fixed rules on this. Try to find what works best for you and you readers. Here are some options you can consider when putting content and trigger warnings:

  • Synopsis (online synopsis, inside the front cover, in the back cover)
  • Review (at the beginning or the end of review)
  • Mentioned in the author’s interview or Q&A
  • Mentioned in the website
  • At the beginning of the chapter

It’s easier for me as a reviewer to save a content and trigger warnings list as a cheat sheet when reviewing my book. Below, you’ll find my “cheat sheet” on content and trigger warnings list. You can add few if you think my list is not enough.

✧ List of content and trigger warnings ✧

Pin this on Pinterest!

Final thought

In conclusion, putting content or trigger warnings is important. Whether you’re an author or reviewer, it’s important for us to be mindful about this matter. We can’t control how people will react toward our contents, but we can minimize the damage by putting a warning beforehand.

I hope you found this information helpful and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so you won’t be missed any post I made. Thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest

7 thoughts on “Content and Trigger Warnings in Books

  1. It seems like everyone has a different opinion regarding trigger warnings and such, but I definitely agree with a lot of what you said. We started making sure that we included content and trigger warnings for each of our reviews this year. I’ve gotten myself into some situations where the was a particular incredibly triggering thing for me in a book that it mentioned nowhere in the summary, anywhere it mentioned in the book’s front pages, or in a few reviews that I looked at. I had no clue it was coming, and in one of the books, it almost did set me back since just how intense it was described.

    There was another book that I wanted to read but I saw a list of trigger warnings from the author’s review on Goodreads, I was able to confirm that even though the book did sound good, I knew that I wasn’t in a place to read it. I think this allows us to make the decision for ourselves instead of being surprised and having that.

    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you! Element of surprise is important but when that element contains something traumatic, I don’t think it’ll give the book a positive rep. I think if authors don’t really include trigger warnings beforehand, many readers would likely to feel more upset than happy with their works.

      There’s a book that everyone love but I hate because it contains something I uncomfortable to read. I did not see it coming nor everyone warning me about that…and the book feels traumatic after all these years.

      Thank you for your comment!!

      Like

  2. I love how detailed this post is, and that you offered suggestions and a list to warnings so that others can use them. I agree with you. The most important thing is whether or not a reader likes a book, and adding content/trigger warnings could save readers from a harmful experience, while also saving the author from a negative review. That’s why I think they should be added spoiler or not to books. And perhaps, they should be added in a way so that if people don’t want to read the content/trigger warnings, they can skip it, while it’s still there for those who need it.

    Like

  3. Aku termasuk yg jarang ngasi content n trigger warning di postingan. Soalnya review pun biasanya di blog cuma suka2, sebatas yg kepikiran tmtng bukunya, ga komplit kaya blog2 lain 😅 Paling warning sebatas kalau itu buku dewasa, jd dingetin ga boleh dibaca anak di bawah umur doank.
    Btw keren mba penjelasannya detail ❤

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s