So, this weekend I attended the Liberty State Fiction Writer’s Annual Conference, and besides meeting many new authors, reconnecting with seasoned ones, and pitching to editors and agents, I made a lot of new contacts, some of which are very enthusiastic individuals.
One of those individuals was an editor with a new imprint to Audiogo.com, called Insatiable Press. This imprint is very fresh and they are looking for active and new authors to submit to this new venture they are starting. This particular editor handles the erotica line and between the ease in which you can talk to him and the exciting process in which to take part in, I got to thinking about submitting an erotica piece to them. I told Bob (that’s his name) as much and he genuinely was all for the idea. (I tell you what; the guy is also a master with pitching and completely set me at ease.) In discussions, I’ve tried to come up with an idea and when talking it over with a new author, several misperceptions came up. It took a bit to explain the differences, and it isn’t a topic I’m a stranger to. Let me repeat, this isn’t something new.
A lot of people have common ideas about not only erotica, but also romance itself.
I know in my career field, working directly with law enforcement agents, when they learn I’m a published romance author, their initial response is, “Oh, like Fifty Shades, right?” I will nod, knowing I can never really explain all the differences that fall into romance. The follow-up response, ninety percent of the time is, “So you write smut?” or “You write about sex like “that” book?”
No, that’s not what I write entirely.
That is not all romance is. While physical intimacy has a part in the budding romance, it’s not the focus, nor does it define what writing romance is.
Then again, you will always find some sort of erotic content in my books.
I said it.
Was it so hard? No. But it never has been for me. However, I know of two or three new authors in the field who do have a problem with it, despite their books actually holding erotic content, or sex as it may be.
Erotic is defined as devoted to, or tending to arouse sexual love or desire. Or strongly marked or affected by sexual desire.
It may be different for others, but when I think of erotic, I don’t think of nothing but sex. Nor do I think of anything “dirty.” More so, I don’t and will never be scared or ashamed to say I have written erotic romance. There’s that word again …
Seeing as how it keeps popping up—pun intended—let’s touch on the main portions of romance and books associated with romance. Yes, the two—romance and erotica—are different and the main points separating them are a HEA (Happily Ever After)/HFN (Happy for Now) or not.
A romance cannot be called a romance—period—unless a HEA/HFN is found with the lead characters. A book with romantic elements is very different that a romance novel. The comparison can be the difference between a book such as Romeo and Juliet, which is fiction with romantic elements. Why? There is no HEA at the end. The two die. Not very happy is it?
A romance novel, such as any of the novels written by Pamela Clare, and about 99% of the ones written by Harlequin, or hell, (insert book promo now) my own Feral Craving, are though because at the end, there is the HEA.
So back to the main portions and how to tell the difference. Listed below you come to understand the difference in each:
- Porn: These books are designed to turn a reader on. Period, end of story. Such books can be found here.
- Erotica: These books are designed to show the development of a relationship between two partners that is based on sex. This is the main point between the two and how they connected. HEA is not required. Such books can be found here.
- Erotic Romance: These books are designed to show the building of a relationship through both courtship, whether it be traditional or not, and sex. Sex is present and frequent, but it will not be the primary focus of the story. A HEA is required. Such books can be found here. Think Fifty Shades, Sylvia Day, or even Maya Banks.
- Romance: A HEA is required. It could be a sweet, traditional or not, and could contain sex. Most of anything though, is the feelings are the strong contention of these stories. Think of books such as Nora Roberts.
Therefore, in response to these lovely cops and agents I work with, my response is simply an eye roll and a slight knock against the head.
My main focus is in romantic suspense. These stories do have a heavy erotic content, but they are still considered suspense and more so my focus is on the building of trust as the two work together. Could they be called Erotic Romantic Suspense? Well, sure, if that floats your boat. My characters and their stories on how they live their lives, how love finds them, and how they find their hearts are very real, and very raw. They are not ashamed to show attraction to the other lead, and more so from myself, as an author, I am not ashamed to show the true connections, and all between—again, pun intended—these two people. Mind you, they are fictions, but are as real as can be, like you and I.
More so, the word erotic can mean many different things to several individuals. You’ve seen pictures dotting along this post, and to me, erotic is sensual, attraction, sultry looks, and a craving so intense you can barely contain yourself. Erotic is beautiful to some, and distasteful to others. I choose to see the best out of it. Google the word erotic and search through images. Several beautiful pictures pop up, none of which are distasteful at all.
So authors, readers, do not be ashamed to acknowledge erotic in any shape or form. Stating sex sells is something that can be left unsaid, because it’s highly known and I, for one, would rather follow every step of a relationship, and not feel as if the characters were forced to hold back. A scene can be done just as tasteful as some of the images found in a search. A scene of lovemaking between two characters can be as wholesome as a turkey dinner.
In addition, inside writing an erotica book, well, that’s simply a story for another time, one I will be blogging about in the coming months. Because yes, I’m gonna give it a shot.
Tell me though, what do you think about when you hear or see the word erotic? An answer will be chosen at random for their choice of a book purchased from the Evernight website.