Recently, I received a one-star review on one of my books. Now that, in and of itself, is no big deal. It happens, and that wasn’t the first one-star I’ve ever received. I’m certain it won’t be the last. But, over the years, I’ve discovered one-star reviews usually mean one thing: that person is NOT my ultimate reader. That person would be far happier reading someone else’s book. And that’s not a bad thing. Besides that, everyone is entitled to her own opinion.
This recent one-star review, however, had me questioning my book blurbs. Why? Because this reader complained about an F bomb in my story. When I first started publishing ten years ago, I added cute little “warnings” at the end of my blurbs for that very reason–to let readers know what they were in for (sex, language, etc.) but in a funny way. And this recent review had me wondering if I should be doing that again, because that was what I got the one-star review for: filthy language.
So should I again warn people about what they’ll find in my books? I didn’t think so, because I don’t hide the fact that I’m writing for adults. I don’t market my stories as clean or Christian, so how did this woman make the mistake of picking up my book?
Should I start warning people again?
I asked that very question in Jade’s Bullet Babes, my reader group on Facebook. Was there something I could do to help browsers know immediately that my book was not for them? My lovely readers told me no. For example, the first sentence in the book that got the one-star review contains the F word. The first sentence. This particular reader could have read the sample and known immediately that it wasn’t for her. More than that, though, my readers assured me that, with adult books, they expect language and sex–so I’m okay. No warnings necessary, they assured me.
So, I suppose, if you’re one of my regular readers, you already know what you’re in for. If, instead, you’re someone on the fence? Well, fair warning: there are bad words in my books. There is sex in my books. When there’s something going on that I think needs a trigger warning, I’ll let you know–but I won’t be warning you about my adult behaviors from this point on. 🙂 I’m trusting my reader group that I don’t need to warn my audience about the content in my books–but, hey, if you come across this post and you have an opinion, let me know: When you pick up one of my books, what do you expect? Would you be offended if you came across the F word? Let me know your thoughts!