WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT FROM EROTIC NOVELS...?
I write contemporary and historical novels and offer them to my readers as: Tender love stories with a hint of sensual passion . . . and more. My publisher, when choosing search engine categories for my novels, brackets me in the #erotic romance genre. So, how do you decide where your novel fits into the world of romance and erotica.
The “hotness” or “heat levels” in this post have been split into four groups. I’ve tried to include in each section what I believe are the expected ranges of sexual interaction and heat.
The boundaries between these groupings can be a bit blurred and merge, so please don’t take what is written as absolutely true or without variations. Each publisher's requirements are different and every reader's personal expectations are individual.
As a Rule of Thumb...
Sweet/Clean = the bedroom door is closed
Sensual = a romance for the mainstream reader - use imagination
Erotic = a romance story with varying heat levels of sexual interaction
Erotica = a story heavy on sexual interaction, with a high heat level, and some romance in the storyline
Pornography = the graphic depiction of sexually explicit scenes – end of.
Heat Level 1
Minimal or no physical sexual interaction.
There might only be kissing and touching. Physical romance is usually implied or mentioned in vague general terms.
Often described as “sweet or “clean” romance.
The emphasis is on the romantic emotional journey.
Heat Level 2
Usually found in the mainstream romance section of book stores.
Might contain graphic sex, subtle erotic content, and adult language.
A bit of hanky-panky happens and the physical details are described, but they are not “full-on” or graphically depicted. Most of the “bedroom” interaction is left to the reader’s imagination.
Heat Level 3
Contains graphic sex, erotic content, and adult language. May offend mainstream readers.
Explicit descriptive narrative and adult language used. Sex is portrayed in graphic terms. Lots of sex scenes and likely to depict acts beyond intercourse.
Heat Level 4
Hardcore erotic content. Graphic descriptive sex and adult language used. Will offend mainstream readers.
This heat level tends to stray from the elements of erotic romance and enter the boundaries of strong pure erotica.
I hope you find your romantic reading and writing comfort zone...