questions regarding content warnings and tags

'ello, i am curious about (translation: stressing over) the content warnings and tags.

my upcoming story has multiple protagonists, as in, multiple characters just about equally share the leading role from the get-go, and for later arcs i have plans on even switching POVs between different groups to cover more ground. in that case, should i tag the story as just "multiple lead characters", or should i do that AND "male/female lead"? things only get more complicated because the initial batch of chapters i have prepped do not even have a female lead, that comes later. so, i am just really confused and i don't want to mis-tag my story.

next, the content warnings. gore has a strong presence in my story, most physical conflicts involving weapons are not sugarcoated in any way, but as far as i grasp, the first chapter is what decides whether a story is accepted or not, and gore is not exactly the focus of chapter 1, there is just no grievous bodily harm.

tl;dr i just want to know if i should tag things according to the content that appears as the chapters come out (if that's even possible on this site, i have not tried the editor past looking through the available tags) or if i should tag in advance, risking attracting people looking for content that is not even present in the story at that point? my instinct is telling me to go with the former, but i don't know how things work around here quite yet.

Re: questions regarding content warnings and tags

Yes, I would tag Multiple Lead Characters, Male Lead, and Female Lead all together. (Personally, I have not written a story with those tags yet so I don't have any experience with it, but that's what I plan to do when I release a relevant story.)

I tagged my story with content warnings as the chapters come out (as that's what RR recommends on the FAQs for some reason) but I would advise putting those content warnings up right away, if you know that's the direction the story is going to take. That way the right people can find it, if they want something wholesome or want "all of the good stuff" so to speak.

Re: questions regarding content warnings and tags

Hit all of those tags. I have a multi-lead two male, one female. I lead with the female, but after reader feedback, I'll be leading with one of the male characters to get the reader onboard with the story faster. All it is, is just swapping a few chapters around. Anyway - I tagged based on what is intended and what is coming, so there are no surprises.

I also tagged trauma because everything these days traumatizes someone, and I'd rather not risk offending someone. So I just say: yeah, this story is going to offend someone out there in some way, I'm sure of it.

Re: questions regarding content warnings and tags

For the first question I would highly recommend tagging Multiple Lead Characters. Whether or not you also want to  tag both male/female leads is up to you, it might help period find your story if they are searching for those tags specifically.

Secondly for content warnings I have a post detailing how you can make content warnings for each chapter if that's what you want to do. Though it's not standard practice by authors on this site. Post here

I will emphasize that according to RR FAQ you do need to tag your story with every content warning available that is relevant in your story even if it only appears in one chapter.

Re: questions regarding content warnings and tags

All the story tags, whether content warnings, genres, whatever, are methods of marketing. People looking for certain things will search for those tags, or if they want to avoid others they will search without those tags. Knowing both your story and your audience's expectations will help you tag it properly.

Keep in mind that it's highly unlikely anyone will be searching for content warning tags. They're more likely to exclude them if they use them at all. So tagging for content warnings isn't likely to help people find your story. These are just warnings, literally. Overusing them will mean that people will either avoid stories they could handle, or treat content warnings as just "bleh, probably nothing," only to find something they would have otherwise avoided if the tag hadn't been watered down. Somewhat ironically, I've seen people use those content warnings on stuff that a Victorian dowager countess wouldn't find noteworthy. (Well, as long as everyone's limbs were properly covered, of course.)