What is the difference between Erotica and Romance?

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Brigid Barry

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Since this is the place that specifies "dumb questions" I thought this might be the right board. If not, I'm sure a mod will swoop in and put this in the right place!

I have read in a few different places (agents, publishers, etc) that are looking for romance but "no erotica".

Raising my hand that I don't know what the difference is. :cry:

My current WIP is a fantasy with strong romantic elements and steamy/graphic fornication so now I'm extra confused as to whether or not a "no erotica" publisher/agent would be interested in my work! :e2shrug:

A little help please!
 

Metallipod

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From my understanding romance has more relationships. Think dates, high-school sweet hearts, marriage. Just like you would think of Romance if you are a guy trying to treat a girl right or a girl trying to treat a guy right.

Erotica from my understanding is more about sex. Not just filth. But it's something that excites the reader in a sexual way. They go deeper in imaging when it comes to sex than the general romance genre. I guess Erotica is more for the readers sexual pleasure.

This is just my understanding of it from researching the subject online. I haven't personally read any erotica or romance.

Hope it helped :D
 

SomethingOrOther

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Erotica:
They undressed and had sex.​
Romance:
They undressed and had sex, in the rain.​
(jk)
 

Layla Nahar

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I have read in a few different places (agents, publishers, etc) that are looking for romance but "no erotica".

Raising my hand that I don't know what the difference is.

plus, there's erotic romance...

maybe, get a few titles of each & see how they compare when you read them?
 

Ralyks

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I believe the difference is primarily in the quanity of sex and the level of detail in sex scenes. Romance may have a few sex scenes, but they won't be the central focus of the novel, and they frequently will be less descriptive than what you would find in erotica. Erotica is primarily intended to incite sexual pleasure. Romance is primarily intended to develop a romantic relationship. Different romance publishers have different "rules" about how much sex they allow, what level of detail, and in what circumstances. Sometimes these are stated in the submission guidelines.
 

Bubastes

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I'm curious: I know romance requires happily ever after, but I don't believe erotica does - do I have that right or wrong?

Erotica doesn't require a happily ever after (or happy for now), but romance (which includes erotic romance) does.
 

SomethingOrOther

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Unhappy endings in eroticas?
"Arggh," he ejaculates. "Phew," she says, "that was some good sex." But the condom breaks and she gets pregnant and her religion prevents her from getting an abortion and he has to pay child support for eighteen years and the kid ends up being a terrorist who kills a thousand people, including him.

THE END
 

Silver-Midnight

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I believe the difference is primarily in the quanity of sex and the level of detail in sex scenes. Romance may have a few sex scenes, but they won't be the central focus of the novel, and they frequently will be less descriptive than what you would find in erotica. Erotica is primarily intended to incite sexual pleasure. Romance is primarily intended to develop a romantic relationship. Different romance publishers have different "rules" about how much sex they allow, what level of detail, and in what circumstances. Sometimes these are stated in the submission guidelines.

This.

Erotica doesn't necessarily have a Happily Ever After or a Happy For Now ending. It's about character developed through or by the way of sex. The sex scenes are a lot of more detailed than in the Romance genre. Also, depending on the length, the scenes are also more frequent.

Romance it just focuses on the love or relationship. The sex scenes are entirely detailed as in Erotica. Also depending upon the line/story, the sex scenes aren't really as frequent as they are in Erotica.

Erotic Romance is basically a combined version of Romance and Erotica. The scenes are probably more frequent and more detailed. It does focus on the love and progress of the relationship, but there is also a focus on the couple/character growing through sex or by sex, as in Erotica. However, unlike Erotica, Erotic Romance must have a Happily Ever After or Happy For Now.


Maybe you should look at Lyrical Press or Entangled Publishing. From what I see, they take steamy Fantasy/Fantasy Romance.

Here are there "Bewares" thread on here:

Lyrical Press: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104091

Entangled Publishing: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=207134
 

VoireyLinger

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I have read in a few different places (agents, publishers, etc) that are looking for romance but "no erotica".

Raising my hand that I don't know what the difference is.

I'm a romance, erotic romancer and erotica author and these are my working definitions:

Romance is the story of a growing relationship between two people with an optimistic ending... a happily ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN). You can see the relationship continuing beyond the end of the book. These can be entire chaste or have very graphic sexuality.

Erotica is one person's sexual journey. It may or feature a relationship but the HEA/HFN is not needed and the main focus is one character's journey. Some erotica can be surprisingly non-graphic.

If it's all about the sex for titillation and has little story and all sex, I consider it written porn.

There can be overlap between these and some people's lines might not be in the same places as mine, but i think this is what it boils down to on a very basic level.
 

thethinker42

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I'm curious: I know romance requires happily ever after, but I don't believe erotica does - do I have that right or wrong?

That's all it is. Erotic romance has to have a Happily Ever After or Happy For Now ending, whereas Erotica doesn't have a specific requirement. It has nothing to do with the number or intensity of sex scenes...just the ending.
 

Once!

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I can lend a romance to my mother ...

In a romance, the story ends when the bedroom door opens ...

It's a bit like the difference between a thriller and a romance. In a romance a car is a device for getting your protagonist from A to B. You get it over with as quickly as possible, and don't need to know the make and model. In a thriller it's an opportunity to have a car chase. You linger on the details.

In one you stay together, in the other you stick together.
 

SomethingOrOther

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It's a bit like the difference between a thriller and a romance. In a romance a car is a device for getting your protagonist from A to B. You get it over with as quickly as possible, and don't need to know the make and model. In a thriller it's an opportunity to have a car chase. You linger on the details.

And in erotica:

GIqy8.jpg
 

Ann_Mayburn

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I would also read a couple selections from the erotica and the romance categories if you are intending to submit directly to a publisher. I've found the lines between romance, erotic romance, and erotica have become so blurry. For example, the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurel K Hamilton, published by Berkly's regular pub division, not their Heat line. It can be found in any bookstore nestled among the bodice rippers or in the paranormal/sci-fi section. In it we find massive orgies, detailed sex, anal sex, oral sex, sex with shifters in their half-animal state, sex with an almost underage boy in a were-cat orgy, and enough descriptions of semen to fill an Olympic size pool.

And yet, it is just labeled as paranormal romance. :p
 

brainstorm77

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Most of the romances I read don't stop at the bedroom and they are classified as romance.
 

thethinker42

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one sells on kindle, the other in hard copy.

There is plenty of erotica available in hard copy and TONS of romance available on Kindle.

Unhappy endings in eroticas?
"Arggh," he ejaculates. "Phew," she says, "that was some good sex." But the condom breaks and she gets pregnant and her religion prevents her from getting an abortion and he has to pay child support for eighteen years and the kid ends up being a terrorist who kills a thousand people, including him.

THE END

In one you stay together, in the other you stick together.

And in erotica:

GIqy8.jpg

Another difference: it's socially acceptable to make grade-school comments about erotica even when there are erotica writers on the board who do tend to get a little tired of their genre being joke fodder. I realize smutty stuff lends itself to giggling behind the hand, but can we please respect our fellow writer, even if some of us write erotica?
 

thethinker42

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Also, the happy ending requirement refers to the characters being in love/in a relationship at the end. Erotica can have a perfectly happy ending wherein the characters don't wind up staying together. That's how one of my books ended up classified as erotica instead of erotic romance. Everyone was happy on the end, they just werent together.
 
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