Kindle Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!
I'm writing a book and I was certain it was a dark romance until I've found out that now "dark romance" is a synonym of "dark erotica" and I don't know how to label it anymore.
There are explicit scenes but not as much to label it as dark erotica.
The hero is a complex character but he doesn't actually hurt the heroine. He's part of a secret Club who has the full power over the city, so he does a lot of morally questionable actions. The heroine gets kidnapped, tortured etc but it's not the hero who does it, does it still make it a dark romance or? What genre should I label my book? I don't want my readers to be disappointed if I put the wrong genre under my next release.
Thank you for the attention and sorry if I made mistakes, I'm Italian!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
Is the main focus of the book romance or is it more of a dark thriller? I think sometimes it's easier to say a story is another genre with a romance in it rather than romance. There is kind of an expectation of what a romance book is or isn't, and I guess you just have to decide if readers would look at it and think that it fits. It might boil down to whether your book is a romance with these other things going on, or another genre with a romance in it.

I'm having a hard time finding amazon's list of genres, but I bet there is something that might fit it if you didn't want to go into dark romance.

And I don't see any mistakes :) The post looks good to me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is the main focus of the book romance or is it more of a dark thriller? I think sometimes it's easier to say a story is another genre with a romance in it rather than romance. There is kind of an expectation of what a romance book is or isn't, and I guess you just have to decide if readers would look at it and think that it fits. It might boil down to whether your book is a romance with these other things going on, or another genre with a romance in it.

I'm having a hard time finding amazon's list of genres, but I bet there is something that might fit it if you didn't want to go into dark romance.

And I don't see any mistakes :) The post looks good to me!
Thank you for your answer! Romance is the main focus because there are alternate PoVs between the two main characters and they both develop a slow burn relationship but it also revolves around mystery and suspense, there are murders, secrets etc I thought it was a dark romance to be honest but people seem to make a book fit under this label only if the hero is the executioner and hurts the heroine or there are countless explicit erotic scenes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,467 Posts
Bottom line, if there is no HEA it IS NOT a romance. Also, romances typically follow very specific arcs.

So if you have the HEA and you have the arcs, you can categorize it in a romance sub-genre.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,433 Posts
It sounds like a dark romance but your lack of knowledge with the genre gives me pause. Have you read popular dark romances to say whether or not your book fits? Some are packed with action, suspense, and/or graphic violence.

Kidnapping, crime lord, morally dubious hero all sounds very typical dark romance. The hero kidnapping the heroine is coming but other men harming the heroine is common too.

Dark romance and romantic suspense tend to have more overlap than other niches. Also billionaire romance.

We all feel our books are more special than genre categorizes allow. And they are! Genre is just a way of describing a certain type of story. Romance is specific but no more so than mystery. There's still a lot of variety within a subgenre.

A romance, dark or otherwise, should end with a HEA but that can be stretched over multiple books. This is especially common in dark romance.

I'm not a dark romance expert, at all, but it's my understanding the hero and relationship will still be very romanticized. That (and the level of focus on the relationship and sex) will be the main difference between a dark romance and a thriller IMO.

No one watches Gone Girl thinking these two belong together. (My husband does think Amy is a great dark romance style lead. He's a weirdo though. I love Gone Girl as a story about marriage, almost a black comedy, but the most obvious read is thriller).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,755 Posts
I can't see how others can categorize your story without reading it to know all the nuances of the plot, year it's set and located. The secret society could be a gang or a cabal in some future dystopian setting for all we know. I does sound like dark romance from your description and my understanding of what elements it is meant to have.

I have many of the elements you mention in most of my books regards a romance element, but I could never describe them as dark romance or otherwise in the romance genre, nor would I target them at romance readers of any description, though I hope they would enjoy the stories for the romantic element if they did come across them to read..

I could categorize some of mine as Dark Psychological thrillers, in the same way that you could describe Girl on a Train, or Gone Girl, but there is no such category on Amazon, only psychological thrillers. The only way to get visibility for Dark Psychological Thrillers is to put that as a sub-title for readers to find them. I can't find Dark Romance as an Amazon category/genre, but I can find those types of books by searching for dark romance, and note that most include that in the sub-title. eg dark paranormal romance. Dark mafia romance, Dark high school romance, etc..

Kidnap, torture, crime, suspense, secret societies, which are effectively gangs, are all elements of thriller sub-genres. That's where I hang my genre tags. I think that you have to ask yourself which are the strongest two elements for the BISAC meta data at upload. The rest are then down to the keyword strings for the meta data to point readers in the books direction for the search interests. The ten genre categories you are allowed are gleaned by Amazon from these keyword strings. These categories are where you will get visibility if you sell enough to gain a chart position. For example, if you have Kidnap as a keyword, then that is an amazon book category regardless if it is romance or crime.

As an example you could choose, Fiction/Romance for your BISAC codes, then either the sub-title incorporating Dark Romance or mentioned in the blurb an give reader expectations of the type of read, followed by the categories as keywords, it will also appear, for such as crime/ Kidnap/ gangs etc if you choose those keywords.

Alternatively as I do it would be Fiction/Thriller for the BISAC codes, and then the categories, such as psychological, kidnap, suspense etc. even romance if the element was strong enough not to mislead the reader.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,433 Posts
Aren't psychological thrillers normally dark? It's not my genre but every psychological thriller I've read or scene was on the darker side od the spectrum. The underlying premise is already dark. I wouldn't think you need the extra label.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,755 Posts
Aren't psychological thrillers normally dark? It's not my genre but every psychological thriller I've read or scene was on the darker side od the spectrum. The underlying premise is already dark. I wouldn't think you need the extra label.
Psychological thrillers are a legit sub-genre of the thriller, and as you say, they are all dark as they delve into the psyche and mental state of the characters, usually the victims, but sometimes the perpetrators as in serial killers who play with say an investigators mind. But they do come in a number of guises that fall outside amazon categories.. The current labels are more from how readers describe or categorize them as a fad rather than as an Amazon sub-genre. The dark psychological thriller is the latest fad that readers and journalist reviewers give as a tag to their reads of this sub-genre. As I've said, the dark psychological thriller isn't an Amazon sub-genre, but it has an avid following among readers and to seek them out. Use that as a search term, which if the author has used that in the sub-title, it is the best way of finding them.

Psychological thrillers have definite expectations and traits that others in the thriller genre don't have in such as the legal or spy thriller. Psychological thrillers rarely rely on physical brute strength to overcome someone, but the power someone places over a victim using their powers of a twisted mind, to control a victim through playing with their mind and fears. The best ones also play with the minds of the readers with the twists.

Another could be the type of story where it is told through the POV of the main character, sometimes as an unreliable character due to say conditions such as agoraphobia, dual personality, paranoia, schizophrenia, or the result of trauma in the past of say abuse that might give rise to fears and misbeliefs etc. More recently, many of these types of reads, authors have termed them as Dark psychological to jump on the trend as a hot selling type of read. .

Some readers use the term Psychological suspense thrillers for reads that involve murder, but really they are simply psychological thrillers as all thrillers should have the element of suspense. Regardless of body count, in essence, the antag usually seeks to destroy the protag mentally, by in some instances using the murders to pin the guilt on their victim, maybe even having the their targets believe they could be guilty.

The distinction between the psychological thriller and a horror story is the amount of descriptive gore and shock value, or say delving into the paranormal, or scientific creations that run amok.

Basically, the OP needs to decide if it's a fiction thriller, or a fiction romance, whichever is the strongest element, and from there use the keywords to denote the various sub-categories, because I doubt there is a prime-genre for BISAC codes for Dark romance the same as with dark psychological thriller.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HoneyBee

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,433 Posts
Yeah, a dark romance and a psychological thriller could cover the same subject matter, but they'd be written in totally different ways.

But...

There are a few romance authors who also write thrillers (mostly under pen names) and IMO their romances are kind of thrillery, for better or worse.

Alessandra Torre injects some thriller elements into books labeled as romantic suspense and she seems to do well with those, but she also came into the scene in the early days of publishing. It might be helpful for OP to check out some of her books, see how they're packaged, see what people say in reviews. The books of hers I've read were well-done, but I felt a bit misled, because they were presented as romances and they were overly heavy on the other elements, and the suspense was driving the plot.

I'm not a genre purist by any means but I like to know what I'm getting. I just don't really like plot in my romances. But there are many authors who have plot heavy romances. Books I'd say aren't really romances. Or barely qualify as romances. I think the Winter Renshaw books I've read had the same feel, though in a completely different way. They didn't feel like romances, they felt like they were written by a thriller author (she also writers thrillers under another pen name)... but they've done well.

I think Colleen Hoover is writing thrillers now too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,755 Posts
Yeah, a dark romance and a psychological thriller could cover the same subject matter, but they'd be written in totally different ways.

But...

There are a few romance authors who also write thrillers (mostly under pen names) and IMO their romances are kind of thrillery, for better or worse.

Alessandra Torre injects some thriller elements into books labeled as romantic suspense and she seems to do well with those, but she also came into the scene in the early days of publishing. It might be helpful for OP to check out some of her books, see how they're packaged, see what people say in reviews. The books of hers I've read were well-done, but I felt a bit misled, because they were presented as romances and they were overly heavy on the other elements, and the suspense was driving the plot.

I'm not a genre purist by any means but I like to know what I'm getting. I just don't really like plot in my romances. But there are many authors who have plot heavy romances. Books I'd say aren't really romances. Or barely qualify as romances. I think the Winter Renshaw books I've read had the same feel, though in a completely different way. They didn't feel like romances, they felt like they were written by a thriller author (she also writers thrillers under another pen name)... but they've done well.

I think Colleen Hoover is writing thrillers now too.
I guess that's similar to writing and a crime mystery story as a thriller, and a crime mystery story as cozy crime mystery. Both are written differently with different expectations, but cover the subject of crime.

To be honest, I don't like reading or writing straight forward gung-ho thrillers without the MC having a romantic or family interest, even if they start out hating them. It might be something of a cliche as a tool for the love/loyalty interest to have them change in character or morals at the mid-point, or give them a motivation to seek to resolve a major plot issue as part of the character arc, but those sort of stories to me give them depth. I'd never craft them where the romantic element was the main aspect of the plot, hence that is the reason I'd never class them as romance, or I feel I'd be misleading the reader into buying the book.

I've written my Post-Apocalyptic-Dystopian books in the same was as I would a thriller, but with expectations for the prime intended genre suggested by the BISAC code. Saying that, I'd give them various thriller sub-genres from the keywords, but the prime genre is Post-Apocalyptic- Dystopian.

I think that a small number of new authors either don't read in the genre they write and so write hybrids that they have trouble in working out the prime genre, or they don't fully understand the difference between prime genre and sub-genre.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It sounds like a dark romance but your lack of knowledge with the genre gives me pause. Have you read popular dark romances to say whether or not your book fits? Some are packed with action, suspense, and/or graphic violence.

Kidnapping, crime lord, morally dubious hero all sounds very typical dark romance. The hero kidnapping the heroine is coming but other men harming the heroine is common too.

Dark romance and romantic suspense tend to have more overlap than other niches. Also billionaire romance.

We all feel our books are more special than genre categorizes allow. And they are! Genre is just a way of describing a certain type of story. Romance is specific but no more so than mystery. There's still a lot of variety within a subgenre.

A romance, dark or otherwise, should end with a HEA but that can be stretched over multiple books. This is especially common in dark romance.

I'm not a dark romance expert, at all, but it's my understanding the hero and relationship will still be very romanticized. That (and the level of focus on the relationship and sex) will be the main difference between a dark romance and a thriller IMO.

No one watches Gone Girl thinking these two belong together. (My husband does think Amy is a great dark romance style lead. He's a weirdo though. I love Gone Girl as a story about marriage, almost a black comedy, but the most obvious read is thriller).
I've read loads of dark romance because is my cup of tea but since I've joined social medias to develop some marketing about my next release I've seen a lot of bloggers who are disappointed because they didn't think some of the books I've read could be considered as dark romance (but to me they completely fit).
That's where my insecurities came from. Apparently they make it fit under this label only if the hero is the executioner and the heroine's the victim or if there are tons of erotic scenes. Maybe this sounds strange to a lot of you because it's something that only happens in Italy, I think they're not very familiar with the genre at this point because they categorize the dark romance as a sub-genre of erotic romance and I think it's because this genre has been here since 2017 and it's still something new to some.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Happily ever after. However, some romance readers will accept HFN (happily for now).

And btw, i do not think that "dark romance" is the same as "dark erotica".
I completely agree.
At this point I think that someone has read one dark romance, found tons of explicit erotic scenes and decided to post about it making a presentation of the dark romance genre as a sub-genre of erotic romance and now everyone thinks it's like that because in Italy this genre just landed here in 2017, it's something brand new to readers who don't read in English.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,433 Posts
Indie authors are really terrible about stretching their labeling. I have a friend getting into dark romance and she complains most of what is labeled dark romance really isn't.

I think dark romance is a bit like new adult or alpha hero. Or romcom, really. Everyone has a different idea of exactly what it means.

FWIW I know a ton of authors who market their books in a dark romance way who say their books aren't that dark. They do well. But ofc aren't that dark is still subjective. I know I've picked up a few books I thought would be dark that really weren't. The CD Reiss Submission series is one that did well and the Skye Warren B&tB one (I read the first half of Beauty and the Professor IIRC). The later was more like a Bella Andre book than anything (family saga with very sweet, wholesome characters but still a lot of heat)... Not what I expected, but it did pretty well.

Most readers aren't that picky as long as you hit tropes and don't cross their lines (ie the hero or heroine cheating on each other. You can get away with them cheating with each other IMO).
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top