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If you order a pizza you expect one to be delivered...

If your order a red car with a sun roof, you expect.....

Your readers expect certain things when they buy a romance/sci-fi/mystery etc.

It's nice to think you are here to test the boundaries and enlighten readers in a new way, but you are not going to.

 

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A.L. Heidecker said:
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Thanks for your input Unknown. It's appreciated, surely.

There's some fundamentalism involved here methinks. To my mind, romance writing is any narrative whose main momentum is derived from the amorous attraction between two people - at least. The main ingredient has to be the story of romantic growth (often in idealized form). The main characters must be happily together for a while, but not necessarily forever.

Every genre has the same issues, though. Romance has long been known to encompass certain tropes, certain reader expectations, and to go against them leads only to failure.

As it happens, I'm not too bothered by genre constraints. Remember even a tragedy can have elements of comedy (tragicomedy) and can have a happy ending; just think of Jane Eyre, Shakespeare's Richard III or Macbeth. I also do not feel any particular affinity with the romance genre per se and am happy enough to be breaking its rules. My top priority is to remain true to the original idea I had and to see it carried out.

You should be concerned that what you write follows the genre you intend to place it in. Sure, there can be other elements, but the main story must follow the general description of the genre. No one says you can't be true to your idea, just that you understand that you're not writing what you think you are, and readers are not going to just accept it and praise you for telling the wrong story.

Maybe I should label my writings erotic fiction of an explicit or graphic nature (which I actually do do), and leave it at that.

You can label it what you want, but if you put it in the wrong genre, it won't matter. Erotic fiction has rules, too. The sites you might want to sell your work has rules about what it allows. It would be much easier for you to simply find the correct genre, and market to that audience.

You urge me to study writing and self-publishing, which I certainly shall do (and actually already do do). Thanks for pointing me to it.

You're welcome. I know you likely meant that as snark, but whatever. Try to listen and learn from members like usedtoposthere, who is actually a best-selling writer of romance, who knows her stuff and has helped many others find their way.

Allan
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Huargh! This is fascinating!

Thanks to respondents for constructive comments, truly. Thanks for underscoring the importance of tropes and genre expectations. I will surely keep these points in mind as I continue to write. There seems to be consensus here on this matter, it is clear for all to see!

Usedto, let us approach all this with a bit of levity, please. My questions above were not intended (consciously) as contempt for the genre, and I did not mean to cause offence to readers of romance or folks on this forum. Hopefully, what *you* perceive as a snarky or contempt-laden comment will also feel honey-glazed and sugar-coated and not wholly unpleasant to ingest.

Maybe I come from a different place than some of the earnest writers here (not just geographically - greetings from Hong Kong!). When we begin to write, ideas are everything. They enter our consciousness and if they're not too elusive we can put them down on paper. I write what clicks for me and I try to stay true to my original ideas, true to what feels right on the nerve endings. As I write I worry much less about rules and the specifics of genre requirements (stock characters, tropes, cliches, etc.) This makes it hard to shoehorn my writing into the genre boxes later on.

Admittedly, it also makes it hard to sell (hence my original question).

But even if I just sell one or two novellas per day, I still get a kick out of that!
I do not do this for a living, praise the lord.

Anyhow, lest I be completely excommunicated (or disembowled) by the honourable community of romance writers (of which I never saw myself as a worthy member) I have changed my genre to erotic fiction/erotica, which of course has its own set of rules. But I think I can meet them better.

Advice here will be kept in mind as I go forward and hope to market better to an audience.

Thanks all, happy writing!
 

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Labelling your books erotic fiction / erotica isn't necessarily a bad thing if you have romance elements in your books.

There are a lot of erotica writers who do that. It's a wider genre than thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
jb1111 said:
Labelling your books erotic fiction / erotica isn't necessarily a bad thing if you have romance elements in your books.

There are a lot of erotica writers who do that. It's a wider genre than thought.
Thanks JB, see this is actually quite helpful! I am of course open to the argument (defended vehemently by practitioners here) that the romance genre has indispensable stock elements, such as the inception of romance, the waxing (and waning) of romance, and an emotionally satisfying ending - conventionally a happy ending. As is clear, I have no interest in ticking all these boxes.

Calling my dilettante writing erotica or erotic fiction is right because this label refers merely to the important element in my narrative, which is perhaps closer to a travelogue but structured around description of erotic activity. Sorted!
 

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Just remember that there are severe restrictions about what can be published as erotica. Amazon is one of the worse, but other sites aren't much better. Trying to get around those restrictions can and have lead to account termination, with no appeal and no reinstatement.

Also, could you use a smaller font when replying? On my computer, your answers are huge, and it's really hard to read them. (Yes, I'm old and my eyes aren't any younger.)
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Thanks Unknown, this is noted.

Amazon has reviewed my writing prior to publication, and so far no problems. Do they have some published guidelines about what these restrictions are?

Sorry about the large font. This standard type should be better I trust.
 

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A.L. Heidecker said:
Thanks Unknown, this is noted.

Amazon has reviewed my writing prior to publication, and so far no problems. Do they have some published guidelines about what these restrictions are?

Sorry about the large font. This standard type should be better I trust.
I'm not sure the Zon has a specific guideline on erotica and erotic fiction. But from what I've read here and elsewhere, it's generally no incest, no pseudo-incest, no sex with underage characters, no bestiality, and a few other things.

Keep the covers tame. Too much flesh, etc., on the cover can be problematic.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
jb1111 said:
I'm not sure the Zon has a specific guideline on erotica and erotic fiction. But from what I've read here and elsewhere, it's generally no incest, no pseudo-incest, no sex with underage characters, no bestiality, and a few other things.

Keep the covers tame. Too much flesh, etc., on the cover can be problematic.
Thanks JB, this is helpful. No problems with me then, and covers should be agreeable to all men and women of good will. Will try to write some better blurbs now...
 
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