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Romance Literature Genres from Porn to Erotic Romance
The New Erotic Romance Novel
lt is generally believed that Americans don't read any more, they would rather watch movies and television. But the truth is romance publishing is a billion-dollar industry accounting for 40 percent of the market. Someone out there gotta be reading those erotic and romance books.
However, they are not necessarily the same people any more. The original readership for erotic and romance novels - the people who consumed Barbara Cartland, Harlequins, and regencies, - is aging.
Instead, there are new people who have spent years watching more honest sexual material in ﬁlms and on TV. The dreaded F word no longer rocks their world, and they see no point in closing the bedroom door on a sex scene. They like those, because they weren't brought up to think good girls don't.
Resulting from this, long-standing publishing industry axioms about good erotic romance writing no longer ring true. Even if the older, more easily electrified readers are still active, many of them have also changed their minds and are drawn to the younger generations' stuff.
The New Heroines
E-publishers like Ellora’s Cave offer the more adventurous reader the pleasures of boundless romance, wherein heroines have no shame admitting they enjoy sex with their handsome heroes. They can do this without forcing themselves into a femme fatale role. The characterization of sex in these new novels is no longer bland and vague, it is passionate, eager and hot, featuring more impetuous pleasures, like bondage and submission.
Traditional print publishers also saw their chance at making the reader's future hot and steamy. Most print houses have already started turning out erotic romance and women's erotica. The readers loved the physically more arousing books. Many erotic romances have made the best-seller lists of the USA Today, Publisher's Weekly and Barnes and Noble.
Great Story-Telling and Trademark Style
Making it to success is not just a matter of piecing a few explicit sex scenes together. Best-selling erotic writing takes creative energy that grabs the imagination of its readers. Fans exploring this intriguing market will sample all sorts of things, but will only come back to writers that develop a trademark style.
In order to survive when the erotic craze is gone - because like many others it will be gone, - the writer needs to seize the reader's loyalty. A decade ago, westerns were the thing, but now they are nowhere near sellable. Regencies used to dominate the market, but today readers are just not interested.
But even when publishers are no longer super excited by erotic romance, the average reader will still hurt for more than just pallid, mediocre story-telling. They are going to crave not just clever plots and character construction, but also lots of steam. But what exactly is the future looking like for erotic romance?
Styles of Romantic Writing
Although erotic romances are not your mother's Harlequins, they're not your husband's porn either. Read the definitions below to get familiar with different genres and what to expect when reading them.
Pornography: Created as masturbation material for bored suburban housewives, pornography comes to life with the sole purpose of sexually arousing the reader as fast as possible. The main character tends to be a a male with many partners. Monogamous relationships are uncommon and the tale certainly does not end in one for our hero. Well-crafted plots, good characterization, and beautiful writing are uncommon, because the story usually needs to hold the reader's attention only for a short while at a time.
Erotica: Sexually explicit ﬁction with a more literary bent is called Erotica. The plot usually involves a male hero with better characterization than in porn. Also, the style of writing tends to be literate. On the other hand, do not look for Erotica books, if you are looking to read about stable romantic relationships and a romance-style happy endings. This is still polyamorous fun!
Women's Erotica: This genre is still closer to literary erotica than to romance. It tells the story of a woman with strong, well-developed characterization. On her voyage of self-discovery, she often experiments with sexual practices like bondage and submission. She will also share her bed with more than just one partner. A few of these books might end in a monogamous relationship, but this is still rare.
Mainstream romance: The sole focus of mainstream romance is usually the formation of a monogamous romantic relationship between a male and a female. Plot and characterization of players is of central importance, as is the presence of a well-developed romantic conﬂict. Sexual intercourse is not necessarily presented on the pages. If it is, it has much less focus than other plot elements do. The language is full of euphemisms carefully avoiding 4-letter words. You can hardly ever find more than 3 love scenes in a book, and these portrayals are usually short, no more than a few pages. The story draws to a happy closure as our hero and heroine become a monogamous married couple. This Happily Ever After (HEA) ending is always required by editors and readers alike.
Erotic Romance: If you are looking for a romantic novel where the love scenes receive more attention, but the characters are still well-drawn and the focus of the tale still remains the formation of a romantic relationship, you are looking for erotic romance. Love making scenes are more numerous and often better written, with sex playing an important role in driving the plot, which is littered with more frequent love scenes. Expect a language that is more blunt and is considerably less euphemistic. An HEA remains critical in erotic romance.
While mainstream romance always ends with one male and one female in a committed relationship, erotic romance usually features as many as 3 different partners. Since the readers of these books expect a certain level of emotional intensity, it is rare that a book includes more than 3 partners and is still well-written.
Erotic romance is a safe way for the reader to explore alternative lifestyles that they might never experience personally. It doesn't matter how many people are in the relationship, readers will still want to know they stay together at the end, and this makes an erotic romance a romance novel more than anything else.
Top Erotic Romance Authors
- Alison Tyler
- John Patrick
- Lora Leigh
- Delilah Devlin
- Selena Kitt
- Michael Hemmingson
- Kate Douglas