View Full Version : Serious question (seriously)

07-18-2004, 11:47 AM
my parole officer (he's really my brother) says that the romance market, like Harlequin (sic?) is prolly the biggest of them all.

so that raise a question. is it the notion of romance that sells, or the notion of thinly disguised sex?

07-18-2004, 04:29 PM
I would advise that is you don't like romance, don't write it. Romance like Harlequin is definitely about romance. Suspecting otherwise indicated that this might not be the genre for you. However the one market that almost rivals romance in magnitude is porn. You might try that instead. There are a lot of porn and erotica markets listed at the website of the Erotica Readrers and Writers Association.

07-20-2004, 10:16 PM
I don't think Romance fans are longing for sex. They're not aching for a good long you-know-what but for some fictional (and better than life) man to adore who they are, warts and all, so to speak, through his adoration of a female protagonist with whom the reader can identify.

Romance readers want someone to scent the bath water, strew the bed with rose petals, light the candles and chill the perfect wine, and to speak of love and desire most poetically, and last to look into their eyes, and enter body and soul simultaneously. (Pardon me while I gag.)

It can end there, for Romance. For good erotica, the scene might include all that, gloss over it, or skip it altogether, depending on the market, but will continue in considerable detail starting at that point.

Totally different markets, totally different kinds of writing.

And I always wonder about the next day in Romance--who's changing the sheets, vacuuming up the rose petals, and scraping the candle wax out of the carpet?

07-21-2004, 12:19 AM

have you ever read a Harlequin/Sihouette title? Your comments lead to believe you haven't.

07-21-2004, 12:23 AM
There are many, many, many different sorts of Romance, even within Harlequin. It's been years, but here's how I remember it.

Romance: Exactly what Maryn describes
Presents: Exactly what Maryn describes with groping on page 70, sex on 120, breakup on 150, sex again on 170, and then the end of the book.
Presents Plus: Exactly what Maryn describes, except maybe ext on 135 as well.
Silhouette and Intrique: What Maryn describes to some extent but with lots more sex.
Historical: Exactly what Maryn describes, with more sexual tension, and horses are involved.

07-22-2004, 02:56 AM
and horses are involved.

Wait a minute...

okay, mind out of the gutter. It's after all, "Erotica..."

<running for cover>

07-22-2004, 08:59 AM
You are just trying to start trouble ;)

Harlequin will send you guidelines if you ask them.

If you really want to write.

And if you do, I'll be your editor for free if you ask real nice in a bumblebee suit. Bwahaahhahahahahahhaaaa

And no more beer for breakfast, dude.


I just crack myself up, don't I?

07-22-2004, 03:13 PM
There's also harlequin Luna for sword and sorcery type romance.

All the guidelines and some forums are online at their website.

07-22-2004, 07:22 PM
guess i wasn't clear in my first post. i was just saying that i was told the harlequin-type romances might be the largest selling genre. seems like erotica is also becoming more popular and i was wondering if MOST readers were showing more interest in the (soft core) physical stuff, or the traditional ideal of romance.

i couldn't write harlequin-style romance if somebody put a gun to my head.

07-22-2004, 07:27 PM
Erotica has always been popular but there has been recent growth in 'womens' erotica. However 1/3 of all books sold is a romance. Erotica wouldn't come anywhere near that. Erotica sells more in short story or novella length, rather than full novel.

07-22-2004, 07:31 PM
I haven't read a Harlequin or Silhouette book in many years. Twice someone I knew was so sure that I'd love this one, and after dutifully reading it I hadn't changed by stance on the Romance genre as a whole: It's not for me.

So I have to inquire, as this is an erotica board, exactly how explicit the steamiest of the Romances gets. Could anyone post an excerpted paragraph of the sex scene from one of the more graphic ones?

I suspect that it's going to seem pretty soft in comparison to what I'd call 'erotica,' but I'm open to being proven wrong. (It's happened many, many times.)

Maryn, thanking the poster of such a scene in advance, and urging the use of asterisks or [expletive] as needed so as not to offend the sensitive

07-22-2004, 08:32 PM
There are transitionary women's genres like Ellora's Cave with its 'Romantica' (romance requiring explicit sexual content throughout). I am with a romance/erotica crossover e-publisher (explicit material expected but may be occassional rather than throughout) and I wouldn't risk posting an excerpt here where a kid might see it. In some of my stories with them it is full-on oral, anal, explicit no euphemisms, no details left out :o . The market runs really quite continuously from no sex described to erotica with romance subplot. There is a strong fedgling market where romance and erotica are equally weighted (especially in hte e-pulishing area e.g. Changeling, Amatory, Imadjinn, Amber Quill, Ellora's). I also read across the spectrum depending on what I feel like that day.

Maggie Casper
07-23-2004, 01:50 AM
I don't have any excerpts to post and am not sure it would be ok to do anyway but I can tell you that three of Herlequin/Silhouette more steamier lines are Temptation, Desire and Blaze.

I write for Liquid Silver Books and proofread for Ellora's Cave and can say that they are very open when it comes to the sexual content. Although they insist on romance, they want the books to be sexually explicit throughout.

As for romance, since finding erotic romance I personally have a hard time reading mainstream anymore. I still have my favorite authors but other than that they just seem way tame in comparison.

Maggie Casper

07-24-2004, 12:16 AM
I have a firm grasp of what erotica is like in works other than the Romance genre (since I'm published, too). What I was hoping to learn is how 'hard' the Romance version is.

Oh well, it doesn't matter. If I can't read 'em, I assume I can't write 'em. I was just curious, since Romance readers assert that sex is included now in some of the imprints.


07-24-2004, 02:12 AM
I was refering to romances, my own and those at Ellora et al -- they are definitely romances.

07-24-2004, 02:24 AM
What I was hoping to learn is how 'hard' the Romance version is.


You're right to say if you can't read 'em, you can't write 'em. If you do want to explore the Romance genre, I would really suggest reading a few novels in the different lines to get a handle on how explicit they are. IMHO, even the steamier ones don't qualify as erotica. There just isn't enough explicitness in the descriptions.

07-24-2004, 03:32 PM
Yeshanu, have you read works from Ellora? I think they definitely qualify as both romance and erotica -- damn good erotica too.

07-25-2004, 09:29 AM
No, just Harlequin and Sillouette and others of that ilk...

The most common ones, in other words. :b

07-25-2004, 12:01 PM
Veingloree, I agree about Ellora's. "Romantica" is an appropriate term-- they, too, have different "levels" of explicitness, but I would certainly qualify most of them as erotica... combined with love stories.

08-16-2004, 05:55 AM
my parole officer (he's really my brother) says that the romance market, like Harlequin (sic?) is prolly the biggest of them all.

As a writer of romance (single title) and a member of the RWA I can tell you that yes, romance is the largest selling genre out there. Harlequin, Dorchester, Avon, Silhouette, Avalon, being among just a few of the top publishers.

No, a romance isn't about the sex. It's about the relationship between the "hero" and the "heroine"...what keeps them apart and what brings them together. All romances end in "happy ever after" regardless of the catagory--regency, historical, western, suspense, etc.--you write (or read). If you chose to show the more intimate side of the relationship, then sex is fine to add. I write romantic suspense, and lets face it...after all the suspense a good roll between the sheets is a great stress reliever. ;)

For the record, not all romances are "bodice rippers" and not all have Fabio on the cover. If you chose to write romance and want to be published by Harlequin, then you would have to bend to their "rules" I don't which is why I write single title.

If this post sounds terse, it's because it irritates me how so many people stereotype a romance writer or the books out there.

Okay,,,climbing off my soapbox now.