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False Advertising?

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Angie W blogged about this the other day but I completely missed it so for everyone’s benefit, here is an excerpt from an interview with Editorial Director of the new Aphrodisia line:

PNR: In your opinion, how far can you go with erotic content and have it still be considered romance?

Audrey L.: Aphrodisia would not be considered romance by many traditionalists. It is categorized as “Erotic Romance” for a simple, practical reason–we want it to be sold to the romance buyer and go into or near the romance section of the bookstore. If it had “Erotica” on the spine, it would go into general fiction or an erotica section if the store has one, and our readers (who are primarily romance readers who want something hotter) would not be able to find our books easily. Other than that, Aphrodisia does not have to conform to the usual parameters of romance.

That’s working the system. I had the same problem with the Spice line placement. Bookseller Chick noted that

according to the computer they are supposed to be shelved in romance and not fiction (probably for the very reason that Nicole states). Unconvinced I checked a couple of other sites and they all said the same thing, so into romance they went. The only title we've sold out of has been the Forster, so it will be interesting to see if anyone returns it disappointed.

Which made me think about Truth in Advertising:

What makes an advertisement deceptive?
According to the FTC’s Deception Policy Statement, an ad is deceptive if it contains a statement – or omits information – that:

* is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances; and
* is “material” – that is, important to a consumer’s decision to buy or use the product.

The express statement made by the labeling “Erotic Romance” is that this book is a romance. I think it goes without saying that a romance is one that has an HEA. Audrey L is comes very close in her interview to admitting that they are committing false advertising because “Aphrodisia would not be considered romance by many traditionalists.” To me there is a big difference between erotica and romantica (TM Ellora’s Cave) and, I am guessing, to most romance readers. If I need to start reading each and every trade paperback in the romance section to determine whether I am going to be getting a romance, alot less impulse buying will take place. For me, that means alot less buying of those novels, or, at least, a lot more returning. Maybe someone needs a refresher course in FTC rules.

Maybe some booksellers can weigh in on whether they have had returns/sell throughs/feedback on these books. And Readers, do you feel that the labeling of erotic books as erotic romance when they aren’t really romances is deceptive?

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

70 Comments

  1. Tara Marie
    May 22, 2006 @ 06:56:51

    I’m not horrified by this, from a marketing point of view, it’s probably a good move, long term it wont work because romance readers wont pick them up after realizing there isn’t a HEA. They’re hoping to hit the market that reads both romance and erotica, but that’s probably only a small percentage of the romance reading market.

    The publishers of erotic romance and “Romantica” need to do a better job getting bookstores stocking their books. Are they marketing to Erotic readers or romance readers? If you go into my local B&N and Borders/Waldenbooks they’re sold in the self help section. I never think to look for EC because my time is limited, so I hit the romance and fiction sections and don’t search out Erotic romance.

    If I owned a bookstore I would shelve them seperate but together, Romance, Erotic Romance and Erotica. So they flow one into the next, but wont be confused one for the other.

    My local indie bookseller sells Erotica and Erotic Romance together, this works well for her as she can hand sell books. She has a very good niche erotic romance and erotica market she special orders for.

  2. Jayne
    May 22, 2006 @ 07:08:38

    If I owned a bookstore I would shelve them seperate but together, Romance, Erotic Romance and Erotica. So they flow one into the next, but wont be confused one for the other.

    My local Waldenbooks recently moved the erotica beside the romance novels so that they do do that “flow” thing. I don’t know if it’s helped them sell any more erotica though.

  3. Tilly Greene
    May 22, 2006 @ 07:31:49

    As a reader I don’t like being taken advantage of just because I like to read about a HEA. Publishers are messing with the romance reader by trying to win the war on gaining market share.

    As an author, I don’t want my titles in the erotic section [top shelf and stuffed in between the Sex for Dummies and Kama Sutra] merely because I use the “words” in my quest for a HEA, no romance reader would look there.

    In the end, I believe Romance can be as sweet or erotic as the reader wants it, but if it has a HEA – I want to see it in the romance section. It is my decision as a reader if the book is for me or not.

    What I think has happened is that we have lost the art of savoring our time in the bookshop – no matter how limited it may be, and publishers realize that. In fact, they are counting on us being in a hurry and harassed – dashing in to the romance section, seeing a familiar author, pick up her latest only to find out later [most likely much much later when we finally have a minute to ourselves] that it is not at all what we thought and that there was no HEA at all.

    Maybe we end up liking the book and maybe we don’t, but we bought it, are too busy to return it so donate it or [god forbid] toss it. But the publisher have the money and it looks like they have a good thing going by how they are getting the books placed on the shelves – ending with them deciding to keep doing what they are doing.

  4. Nonny
    May 22, 2006 @ 15:44:55

    Speaking as a reader, I think it depends precisely what they mean by “Aphrodisia does not have to conform to the usual parameters of romance.”

    If this means they’re open to “alternative” themes that you don’t normally see in mainstream romance, like multiple partners, homosexual relationships, and so on, then I don’t have as much of a problem with it. Ellora’s Cave has been publishing books that feature these sorts of relationships for years, and making a tidy profit off it.

    But if they mean that they don’t need a HEA, then I kinda have a problem with that. I’m not a fan of the “traditional” HEA — featuring an epilogue or ending where the hero and heroine are married and she’s either preggers or a new mom — but if I pick up a romance, I expect at the very least a committment of some form between the hero and heroine. It doesn’t have to be “bash you over the head with a small tree” level of sap — it can be subtle — but it damn well better be there.

    If it’s not there, then the book has no place being shelved in the Romance section. But then again, I keep finding Lilith Saintcrow’s Working for the Devil shelved as Romance and the ending is most certainly not a HEA. (Granted, I think that’s more a factor of booksellers seeing the cover, thinking “paranormal,” and not reading the spine, but still.)

    So, really, it depends what sort of fiction they’re putting out. At least for this reader. :)

  5. Nonny
    May 22, 2006 @ 15:48:01

    Jayne said: “My local Waldenbooks recently moved the erotica beside the romance novels so that they do do that “flow" thing. I don’t know if it’s helped them sell any more erotica though.”

    My local Borders (in Attleboro, MA) shelves Erotic Fiction near the Romance. Not right next to it; Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Horror are all on large shelves out in the middle, while the Erotic Fiction is on a nearby wall. However, the sex nonfiction is also shelved near the Erotic Fiction, and sometimes mixed in, so it makes it difficult to navigate. >_

  6. Jane
    May 22, 2006 @ 15:50:44

    I think I should have included the first quote by the editor:

    While very hot and sexy, Brava still follows the “rules" of traditional romance—one man and one woman fall in love in the course of the book and arrive at some sort of permanent commitment at the end. Aphrodisia throws away the rules—anything goes, as long as it’s super hot, sexy, explicit, legal, and all about a woman’s sexual pleasure. Oftentimes the woman does find and fall in love with her soul mate, but that is not a requirement. However, a happy (or shall we say an extremely satisfying?) ending is a must.

    To me, this means that the line is not going to end in a commitment between the female protagonist and someone else. Some books may and some books may not. I am not sure how I can figure out which are which without reading the ending of each and every book from that line. I have just personally decided not to buy any of these erotica books without first reading reviews on them to find out whether there is an HEA or some kind of HEA. I don’t care whether the heroine is sexually satisfied at the end of the story.

  7. Nonny
    May 22, 2006 @ 15:53:29

    Uh. Yeah. That’s … not Romance, alternative or otherwise. While Romance “rules” are becoming exceedingly blurry as time passes (I’m seeing a fair amount of things done in recent Romance novels that never would’ve been allowed before, period), I think one thing that’s never going to change is the requirement for a HEA. What’s the point of reading a Romance novel if it isn’t going to have a HEA?

  8. Jane
    May 22, 2006 @ 15:58:47

    Nonny,

    I think that is my problem with the editor. She knows she isn’t putting out romances. Admits that but still plan to market the books as romances. It’s a bit different, in my mind, than just asking for placement in the romance section ala HQN’s Spice line.

  9. Nonny
    May 22, 2006 @ 16:00:54

    Yeah. That’d be like Warner intentionally marketing Lilith Saintcrow as Romance. I have … issues with that. You don’t intentionally label a book as something it isn’t just because you think you’ll get better sales.

  10. CindyS
    May 22, 2006 @ 16:47:21

    Strictly as a reader I know that you only get one chance to burn me. If I bought a book that was labelled a romance and it didn’t end with a HEA you bet your ass that A) I won’t buy the author again and B) I won’t buy from the publisher again. Someone might suggest it isn’t the author’s fault but if they have written a book that didn’t work for me then, it didn’t work.

    All the bookstores in my area have erotica beside romance now so I don’t think this idea of books being in the erotica section should matter. I skim the titles there in case they’ve put a Secrets anothology or something in there.

    CindyS

  11. Bev (BB)
    May 22, 2006 @ 17:12:17

    Um, what are they actually putting on the spine of these books?

    I can forgive a store for blurring the lines between genres if the books are correctly because I can double-check the spine if there’s a question in my mind. Actually labeling them romance on the spine, no matter what adjective is in front of it, when they’re blatantaly not is a much, much bigger “crime” to me as a reader.

  12. Jane
    May 22, 2006 @ 17:42:03

    I read it to say “Erotic Romance” on the spine. The editor says

    “It is categorized as “Erotic Romance" for a simple, practical reason—we want it to be sold to the romance buyer and go into or near the romance section of the bookstore. If it had “Erotica" on the spine . . .”

    To me, that means that the spine says erotic romance. If it is not going to say “Erotica” what else could they possibly put on the spine?

  13. Cece
    May 22, 2006 @ 21:25:40

    If it’s not there, then the book has no place being shelved in the Romance section

    This would also include women’s fic then?

    Yeah I’m an Aphro author, my book has a happy ending, it doesn’t have what I’d call an HEA (from a reader’s standpoint). To be honest, as much as I love an HEA, I don’t *have* to have one–but then my favorite genre to read is suspense (with or without the romance) *blush*

  14. Nonny
    May 22, 2006 @ 21:33:29

    Cece said: “This would also include women’s fic then?”

    Romance, as a genre, centers on the relationship between the hero and the heroine (or appropriate gender/number of partners in the case of alternative romances) and requires a HEA. Women’s fiction centers on the heroine and her personal journey, regardless of romance. Erotica focuses on sex. Neither of these, IMO, are Romance. They shouldn’t be shelved as Romance, because they’re not.

    Of course, books that aren’t Romance get shelved there all the time — LUNA, for example, and some of Harlequin’s other non-Romance imprints. Usually, though, the cover or spine makes it obvious that the book isn’t Romance, despite being shelved there. (It happens.)

    The problem here is that the publisher is intentionally marketing books as Romance with full knowledge and acknowledgement that they are not, in fact, Romance. I, personally, think the ethics of this decision questionable.

  15. Jaynie R
    May 22, 2006 @ 23:03:36

    As a reader it pisses me off that they’re trying to trick me. I read erotic romance. I don’t read erotica unless it’s written by an author i really like.

    Luckily for me I know that all these new lines are erotica and not erotic romance so I’m not going to be fooled like the average romance reader might.

  16. Sybil
    May 23, 2006 @ 00:52:24

    Well it depends, I have about five alphrodisia’s to read. And honestly have been peeking at the end first.

    So far what I have seen works for me in terms of romance. If what they mean is it won’t end with marraige, five kids and one on the way – I am ok with that.

    I want HEA but that doesn’t have to be the traditional. BUT if they aren’t together, if there isn’t a relationship there and if it is fucking women’s fiction being wrapped in a romance label I would be oh so annoyed and would prolly not read the line again.

    uh so ask me next week, when I hope to have taken a few days off in a row to just read and do reviews…

    Very interesting topic though and one I plan to ask the authors aout who are guesting for aphrodisia week. If I have time I will try and track down an email for the editor and ask her some follow up questions.

  17. AngieW
    May 23, 2006 @ 07:02:46

    The Aphrodisia I read had the heroine going off into the sunset and leaving the hero behind with a “see you around”. They were in love, I think, and I’m assuming there will be another book, but there was no commitment and no guarantee they’d end up together. I didn’t see it as a HEA but it’s possible another reader might have perceived it differently.

    As for what’s on the spine, I got up off the couch and looked, just for you guys ;) It says “erotic romance”.

    My work here is done *grin*

  18. Jane
    May 23, 2006 @ 07:20:36

    I am not a fan of women’s fiction or even chick lit shelved in the romance section. I think the sub genres should be clearly defined so that I, as the reader, can make an informed choice about my books. I definitely like the idea of placing an “erotica” section at the end of the romance section. My Waldens places all the EC together and all the chick lit together. It’s pretty helpful, imo.

  19. Cece
    May 23, 2006 @ 08:55:07

    if it is fucking women’s fiction being wrapped in a romance label

    *blinkblink*

    Jane my local Waldens has a 4-row shelf that faces the romance section for EC/erotic romance books. I haven’t been lately so I can’t tell you if they put the Aphro books there. On the other side of the shelf is AA romance and Chick Lit. Overall I see chick lit shelved with general fiction …not sure why some isn’t.

  20. Tara Marie
    May 23, 2006 @ 09:35:25

    Gee whiz, it seems some bookstores are on the ball, what’s wrong with the ones I visit??

  21. sybil
    May 23, 2006 @ 10:52:15

    I don’t mind it being ‘in’ the romance section. I can see women’s fiction, chick-lit, erotica, romantica, and trades of the above all being with ‘romance’.

    But I want the books labeled right. If I pick up a NEXT, I want to be able to tell I want to put it back down. If I pick up SPICE I want to know it is erotica. If I pick up Aphrodisia and see Erotic Romance on the spine – I want to know I am getting romance.

    Romance means HEA. That is the one and only romance rule that if broken, I will drop an author.

    Yes be creative, be a rule breaker, take risks, do whatever you want to do in your book. But it better end HEA or you will lose readers.

    I am not sure what to make of the book angie is talking about. If it is a series and the h/h are going to be in it… then that works. Otherwise, don’t know doesn’t sound like it fits.

    What the hell is sookie marketed as? I recently got rid of her books so I can’t go look. She is dead to me because I so don’t need the bouncing beds, everyone wants sookie, gonna keep you guessing while I milk this series show.

    Not that I am bitter about it or anything.

    sybil

  22. Bev (BB)
    May 23, 2006 @ 11:53:07

    I know it’s all about marketing, plain and simple, and marketing that may blow up in their faces at that but I have this niggling thought in the back of my head that it’s also about wanting to change what is perceived as romance under cover of “broadening” the genre’s horizons.

    That thought does annoy me as a reader.

  23. Bookseller Chick
    May 23, 2006 @ 12:34:20

    Sybil, Sookie is shelved in Scifi/Fantasy as is LKH, Kim Harrison, and Kelly Armstrong. Of course then they went and published anthologies where they were half and half (half romance authors and half scifi/fantasy authors), guaranteeing that my head was near exploding. Currently I shelve Spice, Aphrodisia, and the Red lines in Romance, but at the beginning (where Ellora’s, Loose ID, and other trade size electronic publishers get shelved). I currently do not group them all together by publisher though (with the exception of Ellora’s) because that just seems to cause confusion for my clientel. For LUNA, it appeared that it was being shelved as Romance or Scifi/fantasty depending on where the largest base of the writer’s reading public was based. PC Cast and Susan Krinard ended up in Romance while Mercedes Lackey and others went straight to SciFi/Fantasy. The other day I just got fed up and shoved them all in Scifi/fantasy because I have absolutely no room in Romance as it is (and with a ton more books coming out this week and the next I’m looking for creative ways to create space).

    Currently Chick-Lit has its own overwhelmingly pink section at the end of fiction (located right next to romance), and I would love to work these new Erotic lines into that area, however, I don’t think it will be happening anytime soon.

    BSC

  24. Jane
    May 23, 2006 @ 13:32:36

    Sookie is found at my Barnes and Noble in the sci/fi section but interestingly enough, her 6 display or 9 display stand was right next to the end cap of the romance section. Interesting placement to say the least.

  25. Keishon
    May 23, 2006 @ 13:59:59

    Lilith Saintcrow’s Working for the Devil shelved as Romance and the ending is most certainly not a HEA. (Granted, I think that’s more a factor of booksellers seeing the cover, thinking “paranormal," and not reading the spine, but still.)

    Interesting, Saintcrow’s new book is shelved in Sci-fi/fantasy here so I guess somebody’s doing their job right ;-)

    I like books labeled correctly and shelved in the appropriate place but false advertising is nothing new in publishing. I find this action no different than say Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series put in romance just so they can reach the romance reading audience. Or when an author reprints a book with a new cover/title and in itty-bitty print, there’s the info that says that this book was once titled so and so. As reader’s we just have to be more savy.

  26. alau
    May 23, 2006 @ 15:19:14

    However, a happy (or shall we say an extremely satisfying?) ending is a must.

    I think the definition of a HEA is changing and that’s what Aphrodisia is responding to: as long as the woman is happy, it doesn’t matter if she ends up with the hero or not. As long as everyone is happy at the end, to me, that means it is an HEA, regardless of who she’s with at the end. I don’t care if she’s partnered, married, with kids, etc, as long as she’s happy. I’m also satisfied with a “Happy for now” ending, which implies that there’s an ongoing story. So, no I don’t think it’s false advertising for Aphrodisia to stretch the genre to accomodate these changing attitudes which is what I think they’re doing.

  27. Jane
    May 23, 2006 @ 15:24:09

    The definition of HEA can change but not within a romance because if there is no partnering where is the romance? I think the idea of “romance” embodies two people, at least, or in some cases, at most. I have no problem with Aphrodisia advertising that these books have a happy ending, but that simply isn’t the same thing as a romance book HEA. The editor is not stretching the genre, she asking for readers to buy outside the genre while trying to take advantage of the readers’ assumptions of the genre.

  28. Nonny
    May 23, 2006 @ 15:25:08

    Alau said: I don’t care if she’s partnered, married, with kids, etc, as long as she’s happy. I’m also satisfied with a “Happy for now" ending, which implies that there’s an ongoing story. So, no I don’t think it’s false advertising for Aphrodisia to stretch the genre to accomodate these changing attitudes which is what I think they’re doing.

    If it’s, in fact, a series, I might not have so much of an issue with it.

    But if it is a single stand-alone novel and ends with the heroine leaving the hero “to find herself” — sorry, that’s not a Romance HEA, no matter which way you cut it. It’s a perfectly valid HEA for women’s fiction or chick-lit, but not Romance.

    You might be okay with it, but I think the vast majority of Romance readers are going to disagree. In all likelihood, very loudly.

  29. CindyS
    May 23, 2006 @ 15:52:22

    think the definition of a HEA is changing and that’s what Aphrodisia is responding to: as long as the woman is happy, it doesn’t matter if she ends up with the hero or not.

    Ok-ay. If they don’t end up in love with someone then it isn’t a romance – sorry, you can say ‘happily ever after all alone’ HEAAA but not HEA romance. Hey if the story is about a woman growing into who she is, there is a category for that, it’s called Chick-lit and I don’t read it. You can have a story end happy for everyone but it’s called fiction.

    Romance is about love (and lots of sex for some and none for others) and for a romance reader it’s about ‘them against the world’.

    Can anyone think of a romance that has recurring a recurring hero and heroine? JD Robb is mystery, Gabaldon herself says her books are fiction and not romance.

    I mean if we want to bastardize HEA we can look at endings where one of the characters dies and say ‘hey, to me, it’s HEA because they went to Heaven!’ Pfffffft.

    I know that romance has the greatest sales numbers but there is a reason for that and it’s not because everyone in the book goes there separate ways.

    Uh, JMHO. Didn’t realize I would get this worked up ;)

    CindyS

  30. Dear Author.Com »Blog Archive » The Changing Face of Romance . . .Or not?
    May 23, 2006 @ 16:06:45

    [...] Commenter Alau had a much different take on the interview given by the editor from Aphrodisia.[...]

  31. Bev (BB)
    May 23, 2006 @ 16:07:41

    I think the definition of a HEA is changing and that’s what Aphrodisia is responding to: as long as the woman is happy, it doesn’t matter if she ends up with the hero or not.

    Now, see, this is exactly what I was talking about. This isn’t about mixing up labels. It’s about intentionally mislabeling something. Wanting to mislabel it with an almost rebellious attitude against the status quo. No offense to Alau or anyone else here because there is not wrong with occasionally challenging the way things are. I simply question challenging the status quo in this case and have before. I have seen no evidence that romances are expanding towards the couple not even being together or that readers will accept it if they do. For one thing what is the point of the genre expanding in that direction? What does it really accomplish?

    I mean I have absolutely no problem with a romance ending and the couple not being married. Let them ride off on his motorcycle to explore the world together. That actually happened in a contemporary I read recently with no mention of marriage. And I liked it because if fit the couple. Who cares as long as they are together. Without that “together” however, it ain’t a romance. I don’t know what it is, but romance it ain’t.

    This is what I don’t get. If that type of ending is what authors want to write, it’s not like they can’t get it published as women’s fiction. Or they could creat their own niche in ebooks like erotic romance has. Why is it necessary to shoehorn the other possibilities into an already established genre?

    Or is that where the real problem is. People want to write these stories and can’t find a market for them? Well, that’s not true, because apparently the books are being published. Are they truly finding enough of a market to justify their existence, however?

  32. Racy Li
    May 23, 2006 @ 21:18:22

    However, a happy (or shall we say an extremely satisfying?) ending is a must

    The devil here is in what is meant by “extremely satisfying.” Clearly, to many readers here, a romance where the two do not end up together is NOT “extremely satisfying.” I’d like to think Aphrodisia understands this, and will be pushing the envelope in ways that romance readers will accept.

    I review erotic romances for JERR and I have never read one where the two do not end up together. However, I have read ones where the heroine turns down the hero’s offer of marriage, BUT choose to stay together in a monogamous relations HEA. I have also read erotic romances which involve a threesome, and they all live together HEA, but such a premise and ending was always implied in the blurb.

    Bev, I think Aphrodisia is pushing the status quo because that’s in their interests; for all they know this could create a whole new sub-genre of romances where the hero and the heroine go their separate ways. I mean, ten years ago who thought vampires and werewolves would be so hot?

    Markets change and evolve to meet the changing tastes of society. Romance is changing to accomodate the women of the “Sex in the City” generation. I think in a few more years, it will change again, to meet the tastes of teenagers who grew up reading romances in Japanese anime.

  33. Twists and Turns
    May 24, 2006 @ 09:57:59

    [...] Essentially, what Alau said was that the definition of the Happy Ever After (HEA) is changing. [...]

  34. Bev (BB)
    May 24, 2006 @ 12:41:20

    Bev, I think Aphrodisia is pushing the status quo because that’s in their interests; for all they know this could create a whole new sub-genre of romances where the hero and the heroine go their separate ways. I mean, ten years ago who thought vampires and werewolves would be so hot?

    Hmmm, isn’t that last considerably like comparing apples and oranges? Possibly even pumpkins and oranges?

    I’ve thought about this entire discussion over night and I’m curious about something fundamental here. A romance at it’s heart is a creation myth and that isn’t going to change, any time soon because it’s a story form that’s part of who we are as human beings.

    So, here’s the question, if the hero and heroine don’t end up together at the end of the book, what exactly has been created?

  35. Jane
    May 24, 2006 @ 12:53:59

    Bev, I feel the same way. These other happy endings described are fine but they are not romances. They may be books bought by romance readers. They may appeal to romance readers, but they are not romances. Romances, to me, necessarily involve more than one person. Otherwise it is a book outside the genre of romance.

  36. Nonny
    May 24, 2006 @ 13:05:48

    Bev and Jane, I’m much the same. I don’t have an issue with the other HEAs — they’re perfectly fine for other genres. A good many of the books I read aren’t romance; they’re SF/F. But if I’m reading a romance, I want it to have a romance HEA, thankyouverymuch.

  37. Bev’s Books » Romance = . . . what??
    May 24, 2006 @ 13:11:02

    [...] There are two threads going on over at DearAuthor.com that fascinate me. One is False Advertising?  and the other is  The Changing Face of Romance . . .Or not?. They fascinate me because the  arguments used by some of the posters  sound reasonable and logical. So much so in fact that they make me want to revise my own opinions. Almost.  Are they truly that reasonable? [...]

  38. Brianna’s Mommy » What is romance? (poll)
    May 24, 2006 @ 14:03:30

    [...] Last week I posted pieces of an interview from the Kensington Aphrodisia editor and asked about marketing. Dear Author.com followed up on my post with their own thoughts on the matter and had a spin off post about the changing face of romance. May added her thoughts on her blog. It seems that some readers disagree that romance requires a HEA between the hero and heroine (for the sake of this arguement, we’ll just use the standard romance of hero/heroine here but this could be hero/hero or heroine/heroine–or more, lol). [...]

  39. Susan
    May 25, 2006 @ 20:09:08

    Just came across this discussion and it’s fascinating, because I write for Aphrodisia. My first book, Champagne Rules, was out in February. My second, Hot in Here, will be out in August. From what I’ve seen with Aphrodisia, Kensington is trying out something that’s new for them as a publisher, and they’re trying to be broad and inclusive. The authors have virtually no guidelines, except that the book needs to be HOT! There are contemporaries, historicals, paranormals, humorous books, poignant stories, etc. etc. And all kinds of different sex between consenting adults (or consenting shapeshifters, or whatever).

    For me, I write contemporary romance. My books don’t necessarily end with an engagement or marriage, but they do end with some kind of romantic commitment. I’m doing a 4-book series, with a group of four 20-something women who call themselves the Awesome Foursome. They meet each week for dinner, booze and lots of chat. Those are my continuing characters, and in each book, each woman has a very sexy, special romance. And the romances carry on, so that the Champagne Rules romance is still going on in Hot in Here, and so on.

    My stories are about friendship, love and personal growth. I chose 20-somethings because that’s the time young women are figuring out who they are as adults. For my heroines, they do that figuring out with their girlfriends and especially through the catalyst of meeting a very sexy guy who challenges them to examine their values and lifestyle.

    Anyhow, my Aphrodisias are most definitely romance and most definitely erotic, so for me that spine label “Erotic Romance” is perfectly appropriate.

    It’s interesting, the editor’s comment about wanting them to be shelved in romance. Yeah, I’d love that, because that’s what my books are. But I’m in Canada and our chain store up here has “ruled” that they shall be shelved in Erotica, and individual stores have no discretion to change that. Grrr!

    By the way, you can check out my website at http://www.susanlyons.ca.
    And take a look at the Aphrodisia Authors blog at http://theaphrodisiaauthors.blogspot.com.
    We also have an Aphrodisia authors and fans YahooGroups loop, and you can find info on that at our blog or my website (under Links).

  40. LucindaBetts
    May 25, 2006 @ 21:15:57

    To HEA or to not HEA, that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to be shelved with romance or erotica…

    Okay, that hurt even my head, but that’s the problem with coming up with these classifications.

    For those of us who read any story by Anais Nin or Susie Bright and then went and picked up an Aphrodisia book we would say, “Dear God, there is so much romance tangled in the sex.” For those of us who read Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele and then picked up an Aphrodisia, we would say, “Dear God, there is so much sex mixed in with our romance.”

    (of course, if they’re reading the work of Kate Douglas, Vivi Anna, or me, the reader might also complain about the fact that there are werewolves or vampires or dragons or other fantastic creatures…)

    The point is that HEA often go with sex, in life and in literature. The Aphrodisia books deliver the emotions that make sex hot for our readers. Sometimes that means we give our readers the HEA. Other times we don’t.

    But in my oh so humble opinion these books will satisfy our readers, regardless of the ending!

    Take a look at my website: http://www.LucindaBetts.com. There are several exerpts there. Can you guess which end with an HEA?

    SWAK,
    Lucinda

  41. P.F. Kozak
    May 25, 2006 @ 21:16:53

    Like Susan, I am also an Aphrodisia author. My first Aphrodisia book, PASSION, certainly qualifies as erotic romance. The plot is relationship driven, the hero and heroine meet, fall in love and have an incredible sexual adventure together. It has an HEA ending.

    My second Aphro, SINS AND SECRETS, due out in October is also relationship driven, is set in Victorian London and absolutely has an HEA. It is Victorian erotica to be sure, but with a solid romantic story.

    Kensington has given the authors considerable head room with Aphrodisias. There are as many varieties of stories as there are authors. It is incorrect to make sweeping statements and generalize that the line is one way or another. Yes, the whole line is sexy as hell – it is what we write. But the stories are as varied and individual as the authors.

    If you want to know more about my books, my website is http://www.pfkozak.com . As Susan said, check out the the Aphrodisia Authors blog at http://theaphrodisiaauthors.blogspot.com to see the incredible variety of books available in the Aphrodisia line.

    P.F. Kozak

  42. sybil
    May 25, 2006 @ 21:44:55

    To HEA or to not HEA, that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to be shelved with romance or erotica-

    See I don’t see that as the issue, I agree they SHOULD be shelved in or near romance. I could say the same for erotica, chick lit, women’s fic. LOL in fact after talking with the half price books near me, they moved their erotica section to be right after romance in the same section ;).

    BUT my issue is the label on the spine. If you say romance – paranormal romance – erotic romance – historical romance – whatever ‘romance’ there should be a HEA. Or it isn’t a ‘romance’

    No a mate, a man, a lover, a couple of brothers *g*, are not needed to have a happy life. We don’t have to have a man and a baby at the end of the day to be complete (not to say if you have it that is bad) but if we are talking ‘romance’ it is the journey of a love story, not an person.

    Otherwise you have women’s fiction or chick-lit. It is sort of like saying I am going to write a new kind of mystery novel. I am going to call it mystery but I am not gonna solve it. It will be open ended and the reader can decide what happened.

    *you* is general, IMHO, I could be wrong and all that jazz

  43. Devyn Quinn
    May 25, 2006 @ 21:45:35

    I write for the Aphrodisia line, a genre I call goth-rotica, as mine are dark and angsty books. When it comes to the HEA, I can’t guarantee that the characters are going to walk into the sunset holding hands… Well, they can’t really. They’re vampires… LOL. But you get the gist. I have to be true to the world(s) I have created around the characters. Yes, they may get a romance. But even in real life we don’t all get a peck on the cheek at the end of the day.

    I’d like to think that the Aphrodisia books have something for all readers, whether it be paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi or historical. Our stories are about people connecting, enjoying that connection and regretting it when it is gone, or reveling in love when it stays.

  44. Kate Douglas
    May 25, 2006 @ 21:46:06

    I haven’t read all the comments but I did read the quote attributed to Audrey LaFehr, my editor. I write the Wolf Tales series for Aphrodisia with a total of twelve titles (6 single title, six novellas) in the series contracted so far. I can honestly say that, for all the sex, my series is the most “romantic” thing I’ve ever written. Every book has a traditional, romantic HEA and, while the sex is extremely graphic, I don’t believe it outweighs the romantic elements. I’ve been told I’m the line’s “lead author,” and my books are selling really well with Wolf Tales already in its fourth print run. Trust me, they don’t get anymore romantic than Wolf Tales. We’ve been given a lot of freedom to write our stories “our” way, and most of us come from romance writing backgrounds, so I imagine that, while you may not get the traditional white gown and wedding (it ain’t easy when you’ve got four or five people in the same sexual relationship!) you will find that the stories end with a sense that the characters involved have found not only sexual gratification, but romantic gratification within their relationship. I am really enjoying writing for this line. It’s the best of all worlds: a publisher who lets me write my stories without interference, and an art department that puts out the most gorgeous covers of any publisher going. It doesn’t get any better than this!

  45. AngieW
    May 25, 2006 @ 21:52:22

    Authors, authors everywhere *grin* Someone sent out the red alert to Aphrodisia authors, methinks ;)

  46. Jaynie R
    May 25, 2006 @ 21:58:18

    lol – I agree with Angie – me thinks this was staged *snort*

    I don’t care what you write – I read all genres, but if I’m reading a book that says romance then I want romance or I’ll get pissy. That simple. Kate, maybe yours is so popular because it’s actually one of the few that really ARE romance. I don’t know.

    I have Vivi Anna’s Hell Kat – but I read it in ebook form previously and was pre-warned that the ending wasn’t traditional HEA. I’m still hounding her for a sequal which will apparently be out in Nov – here’s hoping they finally get their HEA in that.

    For the others – unless I know the author (like Devyn), I won’t be taking a chance unless I’m assured it’s really romance.

    I do read erotica but only from authors I trust.

  47. Celia May Hart
    May 25, 2006 @ 21:59:22

    As Jane, the author of this blog knows (’cause she emailed me and asked!), the books I write for Aphrodisia have HEAs and thus are erotic romances. I have to admit the next WIP doesn’t actually *have* an ending and that’s freaking me out just more than a bit. I usually know the end before I start.

    To end in a shameless plug, my Aphrodisia book, SHOW ME, is out in stores next week. It has a HEA.

  48. Kate Douglas
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:03:28

    LOL…so true. We love what we do and hate it when misinformation is being spread about. When I read a book that lacks a HEA, it’s gonna get tossed against the wall and I’ll never read that author again. Personal hang-up, but that’s me. I want to smile when it’s done, not feel like jumping off the nearest bridge!

  49. sybil
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:10:08

    not that anyone would do that if it was samhain being talked about *g*

    I have to agree with jaynier, if wolf tales is selling that well and has a HEA doesn’t that say something?

    I have WT ::snort and waiting for the sending to pop in here:: as well as Three and Have Show Me which has a HEA (historical! sqqqueee) which I think came out at the same time. I haven’t read them yet. As they all had a HEA (little issue with reading the last page) I thought the line all had HEA.

    It was that Erotic ROMANCE thing. I have Hell Kat, The Cowboy and Pure Sex as well and hope to have the whole lot read soon.

    So maybe my view will change but really I have yet to see a reason it should be labeled something it isn’t. And if the line doesn’t REQUIRE a HEA, I really think that will be unfair to the ones that DO have a have it. Because after you piss off readers expecting a romance with the non HEA stories less will be willing to try new authors in a new line.

    I would suggest LARGE print on your websites proclaiming HEA lives here.

  50. Kate Douglas
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:19:36

    LOL…not a bad idea, Sybil, because I’d hate to think anyone would shy away from my books, afraid they were getting an “Oprah Pick” instead of a romance. When I sit down to write, I write to the HEA. That’s my payoff as much as for my readers. Real life sucks in way too many ways…I want that “feel good rush” at the end of the tale. (FYI–most of Oprah’s books are just WAY too depressing for me!)

  51. Jane
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:27:26

    Jayne and AngieW, I thought that it was strange to see such ardent posts by authors in this thread touting their wares and considered deleting at least some of the comments. I still may if it gets out of hand.

  52. AngieW
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:31:16

    We love what we do and hate it when misinformation is being spread about

    So was it misinformation that not all Aphrodisia books have HEA’s because that was the main part of what was under discussion here, what was implied by Audrey’s interview, and I didn’t get the sense that some of the authors who’ve commented are denying that or are you referring to something else?

    The Aphrodisia books deliver the emotions that make sex hot for our readers. Sometimes that means we give our readers the HEA. Other times we don’t.

    But in my oh so humble opinion these books will satisfy our readers, regardless of the ending!

    But you see, I think the majority (not everyone, but I think a majority has been shown, at least in this discussion and in the offshoot discussions) of readers are saying they WON’T be satisfied unless there’s a HEA. That’s the message I’m reading. So that statement…I’m not sure. Can you be so assured a romance reader is going to be satisfied with a “romance” that doesn’t deliver the HEA? I’m thinking, after this round of blog discussions, the answer might not be so emphatic in the positive.

    Yes, they may get a romance. But even in real life we don’t all get a peck on the cheek at the end of the day.

    I’d like to think that the Aphrodisia books have something for all readers, whether it be paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi or historical. Our stories are about people connecting, enjoying that connection and regretting it when it is gone, or reveling in love when it stays.

    Now you’re entering into the argument that’s perpetuated for the past few days about what makes a romance. “Even in real life…” though, that enters into a different discussion. One where we ask how much reality romance readers want? We want to be able to connect to the characters, we want believability–even in paranormal or fantasy or science fiction oddly enough–but we want our HEA despite the fact that “we don’t all get a peck on the cheek at the end of the day.” How contrary are me? Very, I guess, lol. But you’re talking about romance, and that’s where it comes back to the original discussion. The books carry a label of erotic romance and to MOST (not all, as I concede to some of the other posters) romance readers, that means a HEA for the protags.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love all genres of fiction, but at the end of the day, if I curl up with a romance, I have an expectation for a book that carries that label. My expectation is a HEA for the relationship. Or the promise of one. Or even the promise of one to come in the next book. A hint. Throw me a bone here, people, for the love of all things holy, lmao. I want my HEA.

    I think Jaynie said it best (not that she’s the average reader, lolol) For the others – unless I know the author (like Devyn), I won’t be taking a chance unless I’m assured it’s really romance.

    It’s not the first time I’ve seen this sentiment expressed by readers. Once burned, twice shy. So to the Aphrodisia authors, since several of you are participating in this thread, I’ll pose this question:

    Does it concern you that you run the risk of making readers wary of the line, by not guaranteeing a HEA despite the romance label? That readers are basically saying they’d depend on word of mouth even more than normal, before buying a book, because they feel they can’t trust the label on the spine? That they wouldn’t be so inclined to that impulse purchase on Amazon or in the bookstore?

    Now, we all know that you can’t count on the package label to really accurately describe the contents of anything, lol, but I think romance readers have always just assumed they can count on the HEA to be there. How might it affect the authors/the line/the genre/the sales when publishers start blurring the lines?

  53. AngieW
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:33:14

    not that anyone would do that if it was samhain being talked about *g*

    Let’s start a conversation about them and see *wicked grin*

  54. AngieW
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:34:32

    So maybe my view will change but really I have yet to see a reason it should be labeled something it isn’t. And if the line doesn’t REQUIRE a HEA, I really think that will be unfair to the ones that DO have a have it. Because after you piss off readers expecting a romance with the non HEA stories less will be willing to try new authors in a new line.

    Yes. That’s what I’m wondering. The publishing world is such a slippery slope, isn’t it?

  55. sybil
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:43:48

    Yes. That’s what I’m wondering. The publishing world is such a slippery slope, isn’t it?

    Wasn’t Josie Litton recreated as a new author because Seger’s books under her name pissed off romance readers because it didn’t end HEA? I could have the author wrong and maybe the times are a changing.

    Who knows, guess we will find out later in the year.

    I so need to read posts before hitting send.

  56. Celia May Hart
    May 25, 2006 @ 22:47:05

    Angie, great questions (and apologies to Jane, btw, if you thought my post was pure advertisement. Aside from the shameless plug, it wasn’t intended that way).

    I must be one of the few readers who doesn’t actually look at the spine (aside from reading the title) when I pick up a book. I know now what a “chicklit” looks like and what “women’s fiction” looks like–but that’s the entire cover. I also rely on word of mouth for *any* book that I buy. I impulse buy too (based on back cover copy and first page) but I don’t always win on this premise even if it’s a romance that does have a HEA because there might be something else that disappointed me. The difficult thing about this is that the whole thing is subjective: what the reader brings, what the reader expects, and what the author ultimately delivers. And that’s what gets talked about on blogs like this. Did it work? Should I try another from the author, or from this line?

    A question back: now knowing that Aphrodisia has both HEAs and not (although I don’t know what the odds are of picking up a HEA vs. not), would an erotic romance fan not buy at all from the line and miss out on an erotic romance read? Or do further research before buying?

    But obviously, the issue concerned me enough that, when I heard about this conversation, I felt I had to share that my books *do* have a HEA.

    As to the last question — I honestly can’t answer that. Kinda requires a crystal ball to see whether readers will read by author, or read by imprint. I only know that I read by author.

    Celia

  57. Jane
    May 25, 2006 @ 23:37:17

    I didn’t think Ms. Hart, that your post was a great offender, but I don’t really want the blog to be about promotions of authors unless asked for because otherwise, I think it opens the door to inviting people to spam the comments with advertisements. No one wants that to happen.

    In response to the some of the comments posted by Aphrodisia authors, my major concern was the labeling and marketing of this line as romance when it appears that every book is not. I have tossed it around in my head the past few days and am convinced that romance, in the publishing sense, must have a promise of a future between two characters. Anything else is written outside the genre.

    I may be in the mood for straight erotica from time to time but most of the time, I want to read romance. And if I am not able to rely on the books being romances when they are shelved in the romance section, it makes my buying experience more difficult. I can’t go in and just buy on impulse anymore. I must research, read reviews, send out emails to authors, etc. I must be prepared each time I go to the bookstore to buy only certain books. That’s not really the experience I am looking for in book buying.

    I don’t think that buying a romance should be akin to a treasure hunt or a riddle that must be solved by opening the right review. It should be as easy as picking up a book that “looks” good (either because of the cover or because of the blurb) and walking to the cash register. Any more effort that i have to expend and less books will be bought.

    I don’t blame the authors for this. I blame the publisher.

  58. Dear Author.Com »Blog Archive » Misinformation or Affirmation - You be the judge
    May 26, 2006 @ 06:26:32

    [...] A couple of days ago, I blogged about Aphrodisia and its attempts to have its Erotica line pimped as romance despite the line editor’s statements in an interview which seems to suggest that no HEA is required for these stories. Kate Douglas came over concerned that we were spreading some misinformation about the Aphrodisia line. [...]

  59. AngieW
    May 26, 2006 @ 06:52:54

    A question back: now knowing that Aphrodisia has both HEAs and not (although I don’t know what the odds are of picking up a HEA vs. not), would an erotic romance fan not buy at all from the line and miss out on an erotic romance read? Or do further research before buying?

    It makes me very wary, knowing my HEA isn’t guaranteed.

    I read a book last night, a romance. The journey through the book was gut-wrenching. The author wrote an amazing story that had me in tears at times. It was almost painful, what she put the readers through. I loved it, it’s perhaps the best book I read this year. But I could bear to keep reading because it was a romance and I knew I’d get some type of relief from the rollercoaster of emotions at the end. That there would be some resolution to the pain, and a HEA would be waiting for me.

    If that HEA hadn’t been there, in this book sold and marketed as a romance, I’m fairly certain I would have thrown and broken things. Literally. I needed that HEA. Had the author not given me what I just “knew” was coming, had she put me through the emotional wringer and then not delivered the HEA…well, I’m a gushing fangirl of this author. I think she’s one of the nicest people ever. But I would be wary of reading one of her books again, I’d think twice, probably would wait until I could get it second-hand (and I do enjoy buying new, to give authors I adore royalties) and I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending them to romance readers. Taking away the guarantee of that is taking away the security blanket built into romance, the knowledge that the journey through the pain is worth it, because the pay-off will be there at the end. Without that pay-off, it’s not romance, as Tara Marie said on my blog, it’s certainly a love story, but it doesn’t fit in the widely accepted definition of romance.

    I don’t require a book to HEA to make my “best book evah” list. I adored My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Recommend it frequently. But it’s not a romance and thus, I had no expectations of the HEA. It all circles back to expectations.

    Someone above described their books, I think Devyn, as goth-erotic. They sound fascinating and I’d like to read them, but I’m also aware that she didn’t say there’s a HEA. What flashed through my mind? I’d need to be in the right mood to read them. Because sometimes, at the end of the day, I want a romance and I want to know for sure the characters will do the metaphorical ride into the sunset to their happily ever after.

    With apologies to Devyn for singling her out, but she commented here so I’m use her as an example, she’s going to have to work harder to convince me of why I should plunk down my hard earned money on a book that doesn’t meet my expectations of romance. The irony here, for me, is that if her books were labeled as dark fantasy or dark erotica, then I’d KNOW what I was getting and I’d be far less wary and more likely to buy and spread word of mouth.

    So, Celia, sorry for the long and drawn out answer to your question, but the answer is yes. I think Aphrodisia runs the risk of alienating readers. There’s plenty of competition out there who will guarantee the HEA is there. And readers do buy based on the imprint. Just look at the number of readers who won’t buy an Ellora’s Cave book because they think it’s all about the sex. Readers are savvy creatures, they want to spend their gas money on books they know will provide the emotional pay-off. I fear that Aphrodisia is doing the authors a disservice here. And that’s coming from someone who often takes the publishers point-of-view on marketing decisions. But I just can’t agree here.

  60. Jane
    May 26, 2006 @ 07:00:31

    This got deleted for some reason so am reposting it.

    > Author: P.F. Kozak
    > Comment:
    Like Susan, I am also an Aphrodisia author. My first Aphrodisia book, PASSION, certainly qualifies as erotic romance. The plot is relationship driven, the hero and heroine meet, fall in love and have an incredible sexual adventure together. It has an HEA ending.

    My second Aphro, SINS AND SECRETS, due out in October is also relationship driven, is set in Victorian London and absolutely has an HEA. It is Victorian erotica to be sure, but with a solid romantic story.

    Kensington has given the authors considerable head room with Aphrodisias. There are as many varieties of stories as there are authors. It is incorrect to make sweeping statements and generalize that the line is one way or another. Yes, the whole line is sexy as hell – it is what we write. But the stories are as varied and individual as the authors.

    If you want to know more about my books, my website is http://www.pfkozak.com . As Susan said, check out the the Aphrodisia Authors blog at http://theaphrodisiaauthors.blogspot.com to see the incredible variety of books available in the Aphrodisia line.

    P.F. Kozak

  61. AngieW
    May 26, 2006 @ 07:22:20

    Kensington has given the authors considerable head room with Aphrodisias. There are as many varieties of stories as there are authors. It is incorrect to make sweeping statements and generalize that the line is one way or another. Yes, the whole line is sexy as hell – it is what we write. But the stories are as varied and individual as the authors.

    I actually applaud a publisher that will give it’s authors the room to experiment and take chances. It’s what helped make Ellora’s Cave a success. It’s what I love about the publishing company I work for. I think it’s fantastic that Kensington is willing to take those chances. But I also don’t think that’s what anyone has been discussing here.

    I haven’t seen any sweeping statements or generalizations, but what I have seen is concern from romance readers about the labeling of a line as Erotic Romance when, in the reader mind, it doesn’t qualify. Actually, I feel by labeling the line such, Aphrodisia is the one making a generalization. But I’ve already argued all my points before, above and on my own blog.

    My apologies to any Kensington authors who felt there was misinformation, sweeping statements, or generalizations being bandied about, though I missed any that were made, but I think the spirit of this discussion is, at heart, about what a reader expects when a book is labeled romance. It’s unfortunate that Kensington Aphrodisia is at the heart of it, but I think the authors need to look to their publisher for that, because it was the interview by the lead editor and her statements–one would say revelations–about the line that sparked it all.

    It all comes back to the food analogy I made to May. Don’t serve your customers lasagna and call it spaghetti and expect that just because you call it lasagna, your customers will buy that’s what it is. They expect the lasagna to be layers of noodles, with meat sauce and gooey cheese. A not-so-neat square of pasta. Not a pile of long, thin noodles with marinara sauce and maybe some meatballs. You can’t change the expectations that come with calling something lasagna, just because you want to ;)

    No one is questioning either the talent of the authors or the variety of the books. What has been questioned is the label and the expectations that come with it.

  62. Deanna Lee
    May 26, 2006 @ 08:10:09

    Great thread and post. I think romance as a whole is a great genre and I’m glad that print publishers are exploring Erotic Romance these days.

    Personally– I am a romance author. All of my books have an HEA and that includes the books I publish with Kensington.

    As a reader, I also need to know that by the end of the book I’m going to be happy for the characters and satisfied that the author didn’t waste my time by telling me a story that was going to end poorly. If I wanted to read tradegy– I’d buy Nicholas Sparks and thrown in a few plays by Shakespeare.

    That’s my 2 cents ;-)

    Deanna Lee

  63. Jodi Lynn Copeland
    May 26, 2006 @ 08:58:23

    As an Aphrodisia author and an author of erotic romance for other publishers, I can say that all of my books have an HEA. I could not write a book without an HEA, regardless of the heat level. I have heard that my book is shelved in romance while some other similar titles from the same pubs are in the erotica section, so perhaps at least some of the bookstores are taking note of the endings while shelving. I have to admit I wouldn’t want to be steered wrong either, not getting an HEA when you expect one, so I understand the concern there completely. I do think the cover copy gives you a hint at the HEA to some extent, though.

  64. Bev (BB)
    May 26, 2006 @ 09:14:30

    Well, at least, the authors posting aren’t claiming that romance doesn’t have to have a HEA for the couple. That’s encouraging. I think I’ve posted comments about this one in so many places that I’ve run out of steam and can’t think of anything pertinent. I do have a couple of questions, though.

    Anyone else noticed the irony of using the romance label to reach a bigger audience when there are authors who point blank say they’re now writing, say, romantic suspense to do the same thing? I present as current evidence Peeling Off That Label. I actually followed the link from Maili’s blog thinking it was more of this particular discussion. Ah, no. Which set me back on my heels.

    It boggles the mind. Really. Well, it does mine, anyway.

    Oh, and to rephrase something I asked on Angie’s blog, what is (would be?) wrong with using a chick lit/women’s fiction label on any stories that didn’t have a couple HEA? I thought those “labels” were hot nowadays.

  65. Cece
    May 26, 2006 @ 09:23:25

    I must be one of the few readers who doesn’t actually look at the spine

    You might be one of the few, but you’re not the only one. I buy on reader recommendation but frankly, the majority of my purchases are impulse buys (My son tried to bribe me into going to the mall last week by saying I could go to the bookstore :) ). I don’t care what it says on the spine (because I don’t look at it). It’s the cover that’ll make me pick it up and the writing that’ll make me buy it.

  66. Bonnie Edwards
    May 26, 2006 @ 10:48:55

    I’ve read *most* not all of the comments here and understand that people are echoing thoughts I’ve had myself.

    I write for Aphrodisia, was in the launch, and have more coming out over the next couple years.

    My first novella sat in the Kensington office for a full year. I was hoping that meant a slot at Brava would open for me. Didn’t happen. But I got an opportunity to rewrite for Aphrodisia. Obviously, my stories have HEAs just like Bravas.

    But from the beginning I was fully aware that some of our authors wouldn’t be coming from a romance background like me. I, too, wondered how readers would know what they were picking up.

    But then, the reviews started coming in and clearly that’s the answer. Readers, especially readers who watch the market online like the people here, will read reviews from reviewers they trust and generally agree with.

    It comes down to choice, I suppose. People can decide the whole line’s just not for them or they can read reviews (they’re going to anyway) pick a couple of favorite authors and read them.

    But to decide the entire line is not romance is too general, imo.

  67. AngieW
    May 26, 2006 @ 10:59:35

    But to decide the entire line is not romance is too general, imo.

    I don’t think anyone has said that. But what I heard from Jane, and I’m extrapolating from other comments as well, is that she doesn’t want to have to be careful of a book marked romance. She wants to be able to trust the product. No one is saying the entire line isn’t romance, what they’re saying is the entire line is now under scrutiny and less likely to be an impulse purchase. Not everyone reads reviews to buy every book–or any books, many romance readers buy on impulse, because they like the cover or the back blurb, but now readers are saying they’ll be wary of doing that for this line, because the essential element (for them) of the HEA isn’t guaranteed.

  68. Jane
    May 26, 2006 @ 11:07:36

    Angie W – that is exactly what I am saying. Aphrodisia won’t be an impulse buy for me. I may buy in the line after reading a review or hearing good word to mouth, but I am not going into a store and just buying it based on the blurb. I just don’t have enough confidence that I can figure out if it is going to be a romance. Case in point, Suzanne Forster’s Tease sounds like a romance in the blurb, but when I read the back of the book, it was clearly not.

  69. Dear Author.Com »Blog Archive » Notice to Commenters
    May 26, 2006 @ 11:26:29

    [...] Notice to Commenters Written by Jane on 26.05.2006 | Misc window.document.getElementById(‘post-291′).parentNode.className += ‘ adhesive_post’; The comment thread for the False Advertising is now closed. Any further comments on this topic can be made here. Please remember that the comment section is for discussion of the review or topic. It is not a place to promote your books. We have specific contests for that. Any further comments made by authors that include promotional information not requested by another poster will be edited. [...]

  70. Just Because It’s Got the Name, Doesn’t Mean It’s the Same | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Nov 17, 2008 @ 23:28:08

    [...] associated with the publisher might say.  But this is not the first time we’ve seen the erotica as Romance problem arise, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  And since I’ve been reading more and [...]

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