Heat levels vs. erotic romance (and erotica)

In one of my writers’ groups the subject of heat levels in romance came up, and how to describe romance novel sexy times (or lack thereof) on some sort of scale.

You probably think this is an easy discussion, right? Ha!

There is literally no industry standard for heat levels, and yet romance readers constantly want to know what to expect sexiness-wise between the covers.

Having no industry standard means everyone has their own opinion including one particular retailer which randomly puts romance books into their “Erotica Dungeon” even if said romance book is not erotica (plus erotica is not a heat level — more on that below). Continue reading

Definitions: Erotica, Erotic Romance, Steamy Romance (Reprise)

In a couple of discussion forums I’m on, the question of what is erotic romance vs. what is steamy romance has come up yet again.

As a writer of both, and of erotica, I know the answer. I wrote a blog post about it way back in 2015. Since some parts of that post are no longer relevant (especially the bits about a now-defunct publisher), I decided it was time to reprise my definitions post, with some updates.

I’ve been writing erotica, erotic romance, and steamy romance for well over a decade, and am mystified (and annoyed) that our industry has not yet solidified the definitions of these genres. Does definition diminish creativity? Not at all. What it does is help industry professionals better understand what is being written, marketed, and sold. With definitions, the industry as a whole would be on the same page. Continue reading