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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, you may be looking and the title and going "DUH!" lol, but I got an interesting reply from someone on goodreads that had read my novel. They were saying that their friend recommended my book, but told them it was an erotica and they felt it wasn't. Like I said to this person. The book isn't promoted as erotica. So, here is my thing, lol.

I am a big fan of The Wire, Soprano's, Boardwalk Empire, Grey's Anatomy and things of this nature. Now if you have seen these shows you will know they all have sex scenes and especially Boardwalk Empire, they don't pull no punches, but these shows are not labelled erotica. Five Days Notice is a very sexy book, but not something I would class as erotica. There are sex scenes, but there are also murder scenes. The murder scenes are written in the same detail, but the book is not a horror.

What my question is, where is the line between erotica and romance?
 

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I'd say the line is Erotica Romance.  :D

But seriously, I don't read either genre, so I can't give a good answer to this question. It seems that romance and erotica both have an emphasis on a relationship, but one emphasizes a HEA as well, while the other emphasizes sex.

It's an interesting question. Hopefully, we'll get input from someone more experienced in such areas.  :D
 

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In erotica, sex is the main driving force of the plot. Characters don't have to end up together, but sex has to be central to the plot.

In erotic romance, sex is often the driving force of the plot, and the characters do fall in love and end up together. The romance could be the central plot, with very graphic sex being a major part of that.

Romance can include sex, graphic or not, but sex is not central to the plot, the growing relationship and eventual "happily ever after" is the main focus.

Your book isn't erotica if it doesn't have sex as the main plot point - and neither is my romantic suspense (romantic suspense is a blend of romance and suspense, where the romance can be equal with the suspense part). But people who aren't used to graphically described sex scenes will often fixate on that, and assume it's either spicy romance or erotica even though it's not. Just varies from reader to reader. I get that a lot too - romance readers say my stuff isn't all that spicy, non-romance readers call it way too hot. I add a warning to my books to sort of counteract that, and have my covers a farther toward the romance side than a normal romantic suspense would be.  

**Edited to add - just re-read your description, and obviously you know what rom suspense is. LOL We should talk about cross-promotion, from the sounds of it... ;-)
 

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JamieDeBree said:
Your book isn't erotica if it doesn't have sex as the main plot point
What would you call a book that has a normal plot, but not only doesn't cut away when it comes to sex, but describes it explicitly? (I like to think most of my writing is in this category.)
 

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Romance is about love and relationships. Guy meets girl, girl shuns guy for bodybuilder, guy lifts weights and does steroids and beats up bodybuilder and wins girl.

Erotica is about sex. Guy meets girl and has raunchy one night stand. Then girl shows more interest in bodybuilder but guy turns out to have kinky bi-sexual fantasies, so they all share steamy MMF sex. Then guy lifts weights and buffs up and starts having separate sexual relationship with bodybuilder only. Girl dumps both and goes for somebody hetero.

Horror is about fear. Creepy guy meets girl and starts stalking her. Girl goes for bodybuilder which guy meets in dark alley and starts cutting off his fingers and sending them to the girl. Warns guy that every time he sees girl, he'll take another body part. Girl keeps meeting bodybuilder while getting freaked out by stalker guy. Enter some law enforcement dude searching for creepy guy. Bodybuilder loses all his fingers, then limbs, then life. Law enforcement dude saves the day and falls for girl but in the end girl cheats on him with another guy (unhappy ending) OR ... law enforcement dude saves day and falls for girl (happy ending) OR ... law enforcement dude shows early signs of being jealous and stalker like creepy guy (scary ending)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi everyone, thanks for the replies. That is the thing. I think erotic is all about leading the reader to that "Scene" where the magic happens. Erotica is based around the sex. I also don't think romance has to have HEA. That is actually my one pet peeve with romance, lol. I think you can have a powerful love story without the ending being predictable, which a HEA is. You know what you are getting before you start, which is perfect if that is what you are after. I just found it interesting that this person thought the book was erotic. It is sexy, there are sex scenes, there is also a suicide scene and a murder, but the book is not a horror or anything like that. It is a suspense story, everything that happens relates to the characters and the plot.
 

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Alex Sinclair said:
I also don't think romance has to have HEA. That is actually my one pet peeve with romance, lol. I think you can have a powerful love story without the ending being predictable, which a HEA is.
Oh, boy - here we go again ;D
 

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Alex Sinclair said:
I also don't think romance has to have HEA. That is actually my one pet peeve with romance, lol. I think you can have a powerful love story without the ending being predictable, which a HEA is.
You cannot have a "romance" without a HEA or at least a HFN (although in that case, it's either going to be a YA Romance or a "Novel with Strong Romantic Elements"). If there is no HEA or promise of an HEA, then it is a "love story" is may be related to, but is actually quite different, than a romance.

Sorry, but you can't just change established reader expectations and use standard industry terms without getting pushback. If you call something a romance, then it better have a HEA or the promise of a HEA, or readers will be mad. When I pick up a romance, I expect that HEA. That's WHY I chose to read a romance on that particular day. If I don't want or need an HEA at that moment in time, then I'll happily pick up any number of other mainstream novels with romantic subplots, but which aren't romance.
 

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Amanda Brice said:
You cannot have a "romance" without a HEA or at least a HFN (although in that case, it's either going to be a YA Romance or a "Novel with Strong Romantic Elements"). If there is no HEA or promise of an HEA, then it is a "love story" is may be related to, but is actually quite different, than a romance.

Sorry, but you can't just change established reader expectations and use standard industry terms without getting pushback. If you call something a romance, then it better have a HEA or the promise of a HEA, or readers will be mad. When I pick up a romance, I expect that HEA. That's WHY I chose to read a romance on that particular day. If I don't want or need an HEA at that moment in time, then I'll happily pick up any number of other mainstream novels with romantic subplots, but which aren't romance.
I was waiting for this. Amanda's absolutely right. She definitely said it better than I could, so I'll just let her words speak for me. :D
 

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I agree.  You can tell an amazing lovestory, but without that HEA its no longer a genre Romance.  It's a dramatic piece of fiction and can be literary, contemporary, etc, with strong romantic elements  ;).  Nothing wrong with that, but it's about reader expectation and where you can find it in the virtual bookstore.

Droid Who Loved Me is an erotic romance, because while steamy android-related sex is the main focus, they fall in love, and there is definitely an HEA  :D.  So, there you go!
 

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What would you call a book that has a normal plot, but not only doesn't cut away when it comes to sex, but describes it explicitly? (I like to think most of my writing is in this category.)
This is true of my regular romances, which are not erotic. They typically have three or four fairly explicit, long love scenes. However, they usually avoid the most explicit terms (you know, all those c words ;D) and the sex scenes always (I hope) move the romance forward.

It's really hard to define what's erotic romance and what's romance. I know that if I called my Ellen Fisher romances "erotic," readers would be furious and would leave me bad reviews, because even though it's quite explicit, it's just not erotic. Even my erotic romance is on the tame side, and I sometimes get called on that in reviews (though once I had a reviewer complain the sex was too hot, LOL). I can't exactly define the difference between my romances and my erotic romances, but I know it when I write it. The problem is that different people have different definitions, so sometimes readers won't agree with your classification *shrugs*. You just have to do your best-- read some current romances, some current erotic romances, and some erotica, and you'll probably get an idea where your book is best classified.
 

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Harper Alibeck said:
You can disagree with the need for an HEA philosophically, but in terms of romance as a genre in trade, independent and self publishing, a "romance" novel has to have one.
Couldn't have put this better myself.

I read a lot of romance, but I also read other fiction as well. I generally require at least a romantic subplot no matter what the genre is, but I don't always require an HEA. And on those days, I choose something other than a romance. Because if it doesn't have an HEA or the promise of an HEA, it's not a romance.
 

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DelilahFawkes said:
I agree. You can tell an amazing lovestory, but without that HEA its no longer a genre Romance. It's a dramatic piece of fiction and can be literary, contemporary, etc, with strong romantic elements ;). Nothing wrong with that, but it's about reader expectation and where you can find it in the virtual bookstore.

Droid Who Loved Me is an erotic romance, because while steamy android-related sex is the main focus, they fall in love, and there is definitely an HEA :D. So, there you go!
Aw, man. I think I need to change my tags and category, then. What if a romance dominates the entire novel, but the predicted ending is absent. Is it not under romance? What should I file it under, just fiction? I want to file it under bonkbuster or trashy novel but Amazon doesn't have those categories. :mad:
 

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Amanda Brice said:
Ilyria, sounds like yours is erotica, rather than erotic romance.
Nope, far from it. There are very few graphic sections in the book, maybe 2 pages out of 450, and they're not that graphic, but the two MCs have a romance that endures throughout the book, but it's not the lesson learned by the time the reader closes the book. LOL it's hard to write without revealing spoilers. :D I was going to just list it as contemporary fiction...maybe I should. I didn't realise Romance readers would expect a predictable ending, but that's 'cause I'm cynical haha. My ending isn't unhappy, just realistic.
 

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OK, in that case, then I'd say it's possibly "Novel with Strong Romantic Elements" (although as defined by RWA, this still requires an "optimistic" ending) or General Fiction.

But I'm not sure it matters. However, if you call it a "Romance" then readers expect the HEA. And often get mad when it doesn't come.
 

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Amanda Brice said:
OK, in that case, then I'd say it's possibly "Novel with Strong Romantic Elements" (although as defined by RWA, this still requires an "optimistic" ending) or General Fiction.

But I'm not sure it matters. However, if you call it a "Romance" then readers expect the HEA. And often get mad when it doesn't come.
*imagines band of angry Kindle customers brandishing flaming torches*

I think I should change my listing details. :p
 

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I think I should change my listing details.
Depending on the story, it might be better defined as women's fiction, general fiction, or literary fiction. Again, you might want to sample a few things listed under these categories before you decide.
 
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