Occasionally, I’m asked if books have a rating system, like films. We all know that reader audiences are defied mostly by age group, but there’s not really a well-known content rating system for books, like there is for film, television, and video games. So I decided to do some research on the question.
The film rating system works like this, and this is a good general guide for writing books, as well.
G = general audiences, all ages.
PG = parental guidance suggested, some material may not be suitable for children
PG-13 = parents are strongly cautioned; some material may be inappropriate for children under age 13
R = restricted, children under age 17 requires an accompanying parent or adult guardian
NC-17 = no children under age 17 admitted
However, it doesn’t really speak to specific content. So, I did some digging and was surprised at how little I found. There isn't a “required industry standard” system; but I did find a group that is working to help clarify the answer, if you’re curious.
Check out the nifty book rating community I discovered at My Book Cave. Their website states, “My Book Ratings is free for everyone to use or to rate books. This database is for the community by the community. Please join the effort! To maintain the quality of our community ratings, you do need to log in to rate books.”
The information I found on this site was extremely helpful. They do an excellent job of providing guidelines for rating books for readers based on content. Their rating system allows regular readers to rate books based on content, so you always know what you're about to read. Their ratings include All Ages, Mild, Mild Plus, Moderate, Moderate Plus, Adult and Adult Plus.
There may be other resources out there that provide similar information, but this was the most concise one I could find. I’ve love their definitions and explanations listed on their ratings website; and moving forward, I’m going to include this rating system and their icons in all my books and marketing materials, as well as recommend that the authors I help publish do so, as well. When accessibility is key to building a readership, it is in an author’s best interest to help readers identify content – especially if you want readers to recommend your books or give them as gifts.
Please visit the site at https://mybookcave.com/mybookratings/meet-the-ratings/?ref=4ltrkd7hu3 for a greater understanding of their rating parameters and methodologies.
You'll find some interesting stuff here... some Op Eds, some Information, Book Reviews, and More. Poke around the categories and see what ruffles your feathers... in a good way!