Over the weekend, I had a few surprises from readers.
One was disappointing.
Somebody returned a Beatrice Stubbs Boxset for a refund.
“Nothing in the description said it was an R rating.”
An R rating? In Europe, we understand an X rating, but what does R mean?
I checked the definition and it’s pretty vague, especially when it comes to books. R means restricted. Some sex, violence, nudity and if anyone under 17 cracks the spine*, they should be under supervision. (*not a euphemism)
If my reader didn’t like the first chapter – which does indeed involve some medium to strong language, allusions to sex and a gently twisted murder – s/he has every right to ask for his/her money back. No offence taken.
How to communicate to potential readers that Beatrice Stubbs is neither cozy/cosy nor excessively violent/graphic? Is there a scale one can use to reassure the nervous while enticing the curious?
The second surprise was a new review from an Amazon reader called Roxann.
I hope she’ll forgive me quoting her here:
I loved the entire Beatrice Stubbs series… Great plots, wonderful endearing characters and JJ Marsh’s sense of humor is delightful. READ THEM ALL. I am very sad that the series is only six books….. I miss the characters…..!!!!! Please write more.
Now stop that. I know what you’re thinking.
But I do want to mess with Mister In-Between. How do I please both ends of the crime reading spectrum?
What kind of warnings do I add to my books? Maybe we need a new system.
- Small x: Bad cuss-words, almost-sex and a few bloodstains
- Small r: Medium swearing and not all dead bodies are female
- Small c: No creatures or children injured
I started writing crime not to shock or horrify, but to entertain. I don’t want to give you nightmares. My aim is essentially to reassure that good can prevail; that human beings want to look after each other. If you’re reading a Beatrice Stubbs book before you go to sleep, I hope you’re enthralled and excited and even unnerved, but never disgusted, repulsed or upset.
Yes, horrible people and situations exist but beware of gratuitous shocks.
The Nasties accentuate the negative, fan fear and distort perception.
This piece by Rene Denfeld sums up why I write crime from the female perspective.
Women can be so much more than victims.
Beatrice Stubbs knows all about the negative but strives, at least, for the in-between.
If you’ve read a Beatrice book – whether you’ve loved or hated – how would you describe it?