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Thread: Definitions of the Different Heat Levels?

  1. #1
    Plotting something Ambri's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Second star to the right, straight on till evening

    Definitions of the Different Heat Levels?

    Please pardon the "newbie" question, but does anyone have a list or a link to an actual description of the different romance heat levels? Like, I know "sweet" means maybe kissing, and anything else happens "behind closed doors," and erotica or "romantica" is very explicit, but I'm not really sure what the divisions are between. Like, what's the difference between "sensual" and "spicy"? I'm trying to craft a query letter ( :P ) and someone suggested I should included what heat level it is.


  2. #2
    She of Many Names Irysangel's Avatar
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    Mar 2005

    Sensual - vague wording but sexy
    Spicy - graphic and detailed

    Spicy probably has more frequency. I would think Julie Garwood has 'sensual' (the love scenes are there, no closed doors, but not super graphic). 'Spicy' would be more along the lines of Kresley Cole - very graphic but not flat out erotica.
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  3. #3
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    Pretty much. There are different levels at different publishers but if you use these, they'll understand.
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  4. #4
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    right here
    In terms of the specific act that comes down the individual publisher. Some acts (e.g. gay kissing, het anal) vary very widely in where they are coded by each publisher.
    Emily Veinglory

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Casa Chaos
    If you want publisher specific guidelines, look at Desert Breeze (which publishes non-erotic romance). They post specific heat levels (DAMAGES is classed "warm") in the books they like to publish.

  6. #6
    Plotting something Ambri's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Second star to the right, straight on till evening
    So, my current WIP is probably right at the upper end of "sensual." I mean, there are only two love scenes (and a few interrupted love scenes, lol my poor MCs), but they are reasonably explicit. Still within the confines of romance rather than erotica, I think. I guess an editor would let me know if they thought I was at a different heat level.

    Thanks, everyone! I'll keep that in mind, and try to remember to look over the online guidelines for different publishers prior to submitting.


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