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.
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.
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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!