Author Topic: Content warnings in queries?  (Read 496 times)

Offline koji

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Content warnings in queries?
« on: February 04, 2019, 03:13:24 PM »
I am trying to figure out if I should include a content warning of some type in my query. My book includes childhood sexual abuse in it. However, putting it into the query doesn't really fit. (It is a significant issue in the story, but not the main issue). I may try to find a way to work it into the query naturally without giving away too much of the plot around it. But if I can't, would it be appropriate to put a CW in the query to let agents know the book contains such material, so they can back away without requesting if they are unable to handle such material?

I've had one agent in the past step back because my story about suicide struck too close to home for her, and I included that in the query, so I did not feel guilty about it. But I would feel poorly if I made someone uncomfortable because they are not expecting that content in the book.

Thoughts?

(I mainly ask this because I just watched a movie with no warning that the main character had suffered childhood sexual abuse and I was quite upset by it.)

Offline Waterfall

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Re: Content warnings in queries?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 02:05:50 PM »
Koji, it seems to me that this is not only appropriate but commendable for a query letter. Here's the story, etc., etc. As a note of caution, the story contains important but troubling elements of childhood sexual abuse suffered by the protagonist. It feels respectful to do this, and is also a sign of your authorial awareness of the potential for emotional difficulty with this material. It feels like a pro move.

Offline Ro

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Re: Content warnings in queries?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 04:05:58 PM »
I'd put an asterisk somewhere in the query, and then at the very bottom, after your signature, add a brief content warning. A warning is usually a negative thing, so in the interest of not having it take attention away from your actual query, I think including it in a subtle manner is best.