#DiverseBookbloggersDiscuss: On why I made a Trigger Warnings Database

Laura.png

Hi everyone!

A few months ago I got the idea of making a trigger warnings master list. I was so fed up with having to look through Goodreads for half an hour in the hope that someone maybe included trigger warnings in their review, or searching through an author’s website hoping they included them there, before I could start a book. Having everything in one place, and having the community contribute to it, seemed like a good idea. Especially because I know quite a few of my friends struggle with the same problem.

But before I show you all the list and talk about how everything works, I want to talk a little about what trigger warnings are, and why they’re so important to me personally.

Trigger warnings 1

Triggers warnings are warnings that you put at the start of a book if the book contains content that, if read by a person that has experienced trauma related to said content, could trigger flashbacks, panic attacks, depressive episodes, setbacks in mental health in any way,  shape or form, etc. By giving a warning that the book contains said content, it gives people a choice to avoid the book if they know reading it will affect their mental health in a negative way, or will give them time to prepare for it if they do choose to read it.

This does not mean that if a book has trigger warnings, that this book is bad or should be avoided by everyone. Not at all. Sometimes a book includes homophobic comments, which is why the book might have a trigger warning for homophobia. This does not automatically mean that the book is homophobic.

Trigger warnings can also be applied to various other things, like tweets, movies, or video games, etc…

Trigger warnings 2

I have a panic disorder, and I’m agoraphobic. Reading about trauma that I’ve been through, or stuff that just makes me feel incredibly anxious, can trigger a panic attack. And if you’ve ever had a panic attack, or even read about panic attacks somewhere, you’ll know that they’re not exactly pleasant and you’ll understand that I’ll do anything to avoid them.

Because of my anxiety, the world often doesn’t feel safe for me. Reading a book is basically the only time where I can escape for a while and actually relax. I’m kind of reluctant about using ‘safe space’ here because people have been using that phrase in a very negative way lately, but it does fit. Books are one of my only safe spaces in a very scary world.

For me, this doesn’t mean that I have to avoid every book that deals with anything that makes me feel even a little bit anxious. That’s actually where trigger warnings help me. They help me to prepare for the moment where said things happen, and just the fact that I’m not taken by surprise anymore makes me not panic as easily.

But, am I not spoiling myself if I read the trigger warnings? Maybe. Doesn’t that take the fun out of reading? Quite the opposite. Whenever I’m reading a book that I haven’t been able to find trigger warnings for, I’m on guard at all times. I can’t fully enjoy a book, knowing that any second I could read something that will trigger a panic attack. Knowing what things are going to happen and being prepared for them makes me able to enjoy a book a lot more.

I’m trying to think of an analogy because I love analogies and they always make me understand things a bit easier, and the only one I can think of are road maps. Some people love going on road trips without road maps. They like not knowing where they’re going, how they’re getting there, or what they might see on the way. The surprises make it a lot more fun for them, and they love the thrill of the adventure.

Other people only go on road trips when they’ve planned their whole trip, and always bring a road map with them. If they don’t do this, they won’t be able to stop worrying about what they might encounter along the way, and unforeseen obstacles might make them panic. Or while planning the trip they’ll see that this trip will take them to the ocean and they’re absolutely terrified of the ocean, so they don’t go.

This doesn’t mean that the trip will be less fun for them because they already know where they’re going or what things they might see on the way. It might calm them so they’ll be able to enjoy the trip a lot more.

This is definitely not the perfect analogy, but I hope it helped some of you understand it a little better.

Trigger warnings 3

Fadwa kindly helped me a lot with setting everything up, and we came up with the idea of making two different spreadsheets: an official trigger warning database, and a trigger warning database form.

The official trigger warning database can be found here. It already includes the trigger warnings of 60+ different titles, and it’s all in alphabetical order so you can easily find the title that you’re looking for. (Or you can use CTRL + F to search for a specific title/author).

The trigger warning database form can be found here. By filling out the form you will be helping us to make this database even bigger and better, so thank you for that. Fadwa and I will then move these additions to the official database.

So, that’s it! I hope the database will help some of you, and I hope that my explanation on why I need trigger warnings made a bit of sense.

I want to end this by saying that if you need trigger warnings, you’re in no way weaker or worse than people who don’t. You are absolutely valid, and don’t let anyone make you think otherwise ❤

Love,

Laura


Laura sig

Book blogger @ Green Tea & Paperbacks

Laura is 20 years old and she’s from The Netherlands. She joined the book community 6 years ago and has tried multiple platforms (bookstagram, booktube, etc.) until she finally started blogging 2 years ago, and completely fell in love with it. She’s a very anxious and very bi hufflepuff, and a big fan of YA literature and the show Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Notable posts:

Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss is a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant and have a lot to say but have smaller platforms and don’t really get as much reach as they deserve. What this is, is basically a guest post feature where twice a month diverse book bloggers will discuss things they are passionate about on my blog. 

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A peak into my brain: How I review the books I read.

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Hello guys !

A while ago, I got a few comments on one of my posts asking how I review my books because I mentioned that I take a lot of notes and as much as I could direct them to this post, I wrote it almost two years ago and the way I approach books has changed drastically. So that post doesn’t stand anymore and quite frankly, going back and reading it, I thought “WHO IS THAT?” not because it was necessarily bad but because it’s not me anymore and I can almost read a certain naivety to the post. Continue reading

#DiverseBookbloggersDiscuss: How ADHD affects my reading

 

Ceillie.pngHello guys !

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 12, but the diagnosis didn’t really surprise me, or my parents. I’ve always been impulsive, overeager, and regularly either hyperfocused or unfocused. I would often tell people “oh yeah, I know how to do this thing,” whether that thing was playing the guitar, swimming, or reading aloud. It often got me into trouble, and embarrassed when it was proven I couldn’t actually do the thing I said I could. Not being able to swim as well as I said I could as a kid meant that I had several very unsafe experiences in the deep end of pools. Continue reading

Books are more than “Just Books”

Books are more than just books.png

Hello guys !

I’ve been a reader since… as long as I can remember. I truly can’t pinpoint when I learnt how to read. My mom is the reason I love the stories held inside books so much, she used to read to me every night, probably even before I could understand what she was saying haha, until one day I picked up the book from her hands and started reading for myself. Since then, I can’t remember a time -besides my 2 years long slump- when I wasn’t reading a book. Continue reading

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: The Book community – My Gateway to books that represent me

Jessi

Hello guys !

It’s been almost a year since I realized I’m bisexual. By far, the most supportive people I have found are friends I made in the book community. Granted, not many people in real life know that I’m bi. However, that is because due to what I have seen and heard people say around me, I don’t feel safe coming out in real life. That being said, I am extremely grateful for the book community and friends I have found. If it weren’t for all the amazing people I have met online, I wouldn’t have known about so many wonderful books with bi characters in them. Continue reading

How Do I do it all ? Studying, blogging, life, etc…

How do i do it all

Hello guys!

The title sounds like the most self-absorbed thing ever but hear me out, it’s just what literally everyone asks me when they learn what my schedule looks like and… yeah, it’s a pretty wild thing. So, I thought I’d talk about it for a bit especially since I’m on an organisational posts kick and I seem to have worked out a system to balance most aspects of my life. It took me four years haha, but better late than never.

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling and dive straight into it. I’ll tackle every aspect separately and get into the “routine” I’ve figured out for each one of them. Continue reading

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Seeking a Home – A Call for Adoption Narratives in Fiction

Lili

Salutations dear readers!

Before I get started on my topic, thank you again to the lovely Fadwa for hosting me, I wanted to talk a little about myself. Just to give you some background information that I don’t even know if I’ve shared on my own blog. Talk about exclusive. I was adopted from China when I was young, like five months young, and grew up in the United States until I eventually came to Germany to do my Masters. So that being said, I want to talk today about a hole I still find in diverse YA/all fiction: adopted main characters. Continue reading

My Bullet Journal Set-up

Bullet Journal

Hello guys !

A little while ago *cough* around the end of last year *cough* I had briefly talked about journaling and how I was just starting out and was experimenting a lot and a few people asked me to make a post about it, but as I was just beginning, I didn’t feel like I knew enough to talk about it but now I do. That’s why I’m finally writing this post, and also because I started a new journal last month so this is the perfect opportunity. Continue reading

#DiverseBookbloggersDiscuss: When Depression rep does more harm than good

Charlotte.png

Hello guys !

CW: Depression, self-harm

Depression sucks.

I think everyone who has ever suffered from it will agree with me here. Depression really, really sucks. In fact, all mental illnesses suck but as someone who deals with depression, I’m especially familiar with it and the representation it receives in media.
And to be honest, I rather hate it. Continue reading

How to Approach reviewers? (Dos and Don’ts)

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Hello guys !

I’ve “officially” been reviewing books for almost two years and in that time I got my fair share of review requests, some that were good, great even, and some… not so much. The latter are what sparked this particular discussion post, especially one I got recently that was just plain bad. Objectively. It was condescending and borderline rude, and it also didn’t contain any useful information. I debated posting a screenshot (that leaves out the book/author info out) but ended up not doing it. That being said, if you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw it, because I was really annoyed when I first got the email.

I thought I’d help out because sometimes new writers do not know how to go about this so I hope these few guidelines help.

Approach 1

I can’t say this enough, but this is not only the first step but the most important one, and I noticed that a lot of people do not do this before contacting me. If you spot a reviewer that you think about emailing for a review, read their review policy first (and reviewers -especially bloggers- have a review policy somewhere, it’ll make things easier for both you and the author). There are a lot of reasons for this. First of all, it saves you time and work because if the reviewer doesn’t accept the kind of books you write, emailing them is useless. Make sure your book fits the age category and genres the reviewer reads.

Review policies are also helpful in knowing what to expect once you email the reviewer, in which cases the reviewer emails back (because there are some, like myself, who do not email back unless it is to accept the review request, it’s just because of lack of time really), maybe even what time frame to expect an answer in.

Approach 3

Okay, we all agree that greetings like “Hello Blogger”, “Dear reviewer”, “Hi wordwoonders” and the like need to go. Unless the reviewer doesn’t state their name anywhere, please use it, it’s the least you can do when adressing someone. This irks me and is a sure way for me to not give the email the attention it could’ve gotten if the author had taken the time to look my name up (which is literally all over my blog). Also, MAKE SURE YOU SPELL THE NAME CORRECTLY!! That doesn’t take too much effort either.

Another thing that guarantees rejection is when authors approach reviewers like they’re doing them a favor… I. No. I know that being able to read arcs I’m excited for ahead of time and for free (in exchange of an honest unbiased review of course) is a privilege but it’s also work, a butt load of work. And when the author is the one requesting, they’re asking for us to work… for free. So, condescending isn’t the way to go about it. Think about it as a transaction, the benefit goes both ways. And like, it’s generally a bad look to be rude or condescending.

Approach 2

Name of the book, synopsis, author site, time frame, retail links, goodreads link, anything that might be useful to the reviewer needs to be in the email. If you are requesting a review, I shouldn’t be the one to do all the work to find out what the book is about etc… The least you can do, it you don’t email the synopsis, is a goodreads link, that should ALWAYS be in the email if it exists.

The email that sparked this post didn’t have any of the things mentioned, barely the name of the book and author, no synopsis, no links. I had to go look for the book myself, which if I was busy, I wouldn’t have done and I realistically cannot do that for every book I get emailed about, it’s just too much. So, please, for the love of all that is blue (my favorite color), put that info in your email or make it easy to find. Preferably, in the email though.

Approach 4

If you get a rejection (in the form of an actual email or not getting a response) do not take it as an attack on your person, there are various reasons the reviewer could refuse and none of them have anything to do with the author, some of which are:

  • The time frame doesn’t work with their schedule or they’re all around busy.
  • The book doesn’t fit their reading preferences. (this is why review policies are important)
  • It might fit, but the premise itself doesn’t sound like something they’d personally enjoy.
  • The email was lacking in one of the ways stated above.

So, please do not turn passive aggressive or insist on them taking on your book if this happens, it won’t change your mind, it only makes matters worse. Things like “you don’t know what you’re missing out on”, “you are missing the point” or anything that is rude are not recommended as a follow up email to a rejection. I know rejections are hard but it’s only one reviewer and you’ll find other that are a better fit for you.

Well, folks, this is all I have for today’s discussion. I know it’s a bit different from what you’re used to seeing from me, as my posts are normally targeted at readers and other bloggers but this is something that has been bugging me -and others- and I thought I should address it.

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That’s it until next time.

If you’re a reviewer, have you ever gotten any emails like these?

What are some extra tips you’d give authors who want to email you?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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