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Extra Steamy and Don’t Forget the Happy Ending!

When Jane asked me to write about erotic romance, I was initially going to comment more on the difference between erotica and erotic romance. To over simplify it, it's like comparing Penthouse Letters to Ellora's Cave. It goes without saying that most who read Dear Author will know the difference. So as I began to put my thoughts down I was taken in a completely different direction. Is erotic romance here to stay or just a trend? Do readers want a happy ever after? Are readers interested in a plot and storyline? And finally, will New York publishers ever find their groove and become frontrunners in the industry or will they always be trailing after the much more successful e-publishers?

There can be no doubt that the erotic romance trend has become a major player in the romance industry. When New York publishers scramble to fill a niche and develop new lines completely devoted to a sub-genre, you know it's here to stay. Unfortunately, I mean the trend and not necessarily the lines.


Aphrodisia
(Kensington), Spice (Harlequin) and Avon Red (Harper Collins) have all established their own erotic romance lines. Now word is that Warner is also developing a line. What frustrates me as a reader (and yes, as a bookseller) is that New York has trouble figuring out what it is that readers are looking for. I sat in on the erotic romance seminar at the Romantic Times convention in Daytona Florida and was aghast to hear that not only did the New York editors say that NO HAPPY ENDING was needed, but the Spice editor said that ANYthing goes, including lesbian storylines –" HUH??? REALLY?? Is that what we're looking for?? In fact Ellora's Cave recently announced that they would no longer be accepting F/F stories.

Take TwoAphrodisia seems to be the most successful of the new lines. They started out gang busters, but have recently been falling short. This could be for a couple of reasons –" content (no HEA required) or covers. Sin by Sharon Page is at the top of the worst list –" what does Adam and Eve (in their little leaves) have to do with a Victorian Era house party/orgy?? Readers who love Robin Schone won't want to miss out on Sin so don't be fooled by the cover. It's actually one of the few Aphrodisia's that I've even been able to finish. Jane just showed me the cover for Take Two by Evangeline Anderson, November 2006 release from Aphrodisia, I laughed out loud! Put a pair of roller skates on them and I'm ready to watch The Starlight Express . . . I think I want the computer generated covers back! Not that I thought that this industry would ever get out of the cover wars!!

As for Spice? Well, I haven't been able to even finish one. Nor have I been able to sell them, I sold one copy of the latest Spice and I consider that good! I know that Dear Author wasn't impressed with the ad campaign (remember the woman holding the book with hot pads??). Bookseller Chick had some better ideas. It can also be pointed out that Spice didn't snatch up any of the already published erotic romance authors. Instead they chose to have authors that have never been associated before with the sub-genre. (Another note: Suzanne Forrester, who wrote Tease for Spice, is great at really steamy books –" check out her earlier works like Shameless, Blush, and Innocence just to name a few –" HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommended!!!!

Avon Red –" does anyone even know they're out there??? There have only been a few on the shelf, but there is nothing to indicate that they're erotic romance!!

While the verdict is still out on whether any of the New York publishers will continue to have the success that they started with, there is no denying that readers are searching for those great erotic romances. So unless New York publishers figure out what it is that makes the Ellora's Cave and other successful e-book publishers the trend setters and leaders, they soon may fade away.

There also can be no doubt that some erotic romance authors have shot straight to the top –" both with the e-publishers in which they started and now with their New York publishers. You could say that the authors who have been successful in making the crossover to New York –" making industry, chain bookstores and other nationally known bestseller lists including the USA Today –" have a storyline and have a little romance along with a healthy dose of really hot sex –" Shiloh Walker and Lora Leigh both have strong characters and storylines, yet can't be considered anything but erotic romance –" of the fan your face kind.

So that begs the question, is that what readers are really looking for? The well rounded, well balanced erotic romance –" the sweet, the sexy, the shocking –" all with a storyline?? I have to admit, while Lora Leigh takes me to places I wouldn't go in real life, I devour her books! I have everything she's written, including Nauti Bouy which was sold for just a short time as an e-book at Samhain before it was pulled and picked up by Berkley. (Due out by Berkley in March 2007 –" reworked and reedited I'm told).

While we readers can debate who is the best at the craft of erotic romance –" the “founding” authors Robin Schone and Bertrice Small and Susan Johnson or the e-pub crossovers such as Lora Leigh and Angela Knight or the unknowns like Jory Strong and Lisa Marie Rice –" we can all agree that there is something about these sexy books we can't get enough of!

As for New York, are they listening to readers? Do they care? Has Spice noticed the failing sales? Will Aphrodisia find covers that match the content of the books? Will Avon Red find its targeted audience?

I would hope that publishers are always interested in putting forth the best book possible from cover to content. If not, well, then they're not only cheating the reader, but also themselves. All publishers are looking for the next big thing, trend, author and bestseller. What they don't seem to realize is that the answers are right at their fingertips –" literally! Internet blogs and reader sites are a wealth of information, it's where everyone in the know hangs out –" readers, authors and yes, booksellers!

Yours,

Bookseller Jolie

Guest Reviewer

38 Comments

  1. Cece
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 10:02:34

    Has Spice noticed the failing sales? Will Aphrodisia find covers that match the content of the books? Will Avon Red find its targeted audience?

    Stay tuned Romantica Fans for the next installment of As the Smut Squicks
    ;)

    *running*

  2. Lauren
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 10:11:26

    It can also be pointed out that Spice didn’t snatch up any of the already published erotic romance authors. Instead they chose to have authors that have never been associated before with the sub-genre.

    Just a note – Spice bought three books from Megan Hart, who has more than 20 published ebooks with Amber Quill. Her books will be out next year – Dirty, Broken and Perfect – I’ll admit that she’s my homegirl and so I’m biased but I critted all three and I can say that these books are amazing.

  3. seton
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 12:27:19

    In fact Ellora’s Cave recently announced that they would no longer be accepting F/F stories.

    Yes but do they still accept M/M stories? Cause I certainly noticed some last time i checked their site.

  4. seton
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 12:33:00

    I have read Parlor Games which I believe is an Avon Red title and I was very disappointed not only in the storyline but it was nearly as hot as I would expect from a $12 trade paperback. I thought I could find more heat in any Harlequin Blaze novel . . . and I dont like those either.

    I am disappointed that Susan Johnson wasnt mentioned as a pioneer since she has been writing since the late 1970s and did coit de cheval scenes (sex on a horse) way before anyone else.

  5. Alison Kent
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 13:24:22

    [quote comment="3931"]Spice bought three books from Megan Hart, who has more than 20 published ebooks with Amber Quill. [/quote]

    They also bought Sarah McCarty.

  6. Melani Blazer
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 13:25:23

    In re: the question as to what readers are looking for–the thing I seem to be hearing more than anything else is the need for that HEA.

    I’ve seen/heard more than one person comment they have been disappointed with books from a publisher coined “erotic romance” that didn’t deliver the HEA they were expecting. My guess is this will cause some readers to be gun shy with that publisher on their next shopping spree. *shrug*

  7. Jolie
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 13:32:09

    [quote comment="3931"]

    It can also be pointed out that Spice didn’t snatch up any of the already published erotic romance authors. Instead they chose to have authors that have never been associated before with the sub-genre.

    Just a note – Spice bought three books from Megan Hart, who has more than 20 published ebooks with Amber Quill. Her books will be out next year – Dirty, Broken and Perfect – I’ll admit that she’s my homegirl and so I’m biased but I critted all three and I can say that these books are amazing.[/quote]

    Lauren — I think this is great! Maybe they should have launched with her instead, which was exactly my point. Spice chose to start the line off without authors who had previously established themselves within the sub-genre. I just hope that Spice stays around long enough for her books to help the line out!

    Just to give you an idea about why it’s significant that I only sold 1 copy of the latest Spice, I sell a ton of romance. I received exactly three copies of last months’ Spice offering and sold one. On the other hand I get double and triple digets for most of the romance/erotic romance titles. It’s not uncommon for me to have 100+ copies of the latest bestselling romance.

    I have customers who purchase hundreds of dollars worth of erotic romance titles every month, but they aren’t buying Spice. I rang a customer up on Friday whose purchase was $250 after discounts! No Spice for her either.

    Do you understand why I’m a little skeptical about the success of Spice?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan, a huge fan of the genre — there is little I haven’t read, including your titles. :-) I want Spice to succeed — I want ALL authors to succeed — I want to read more great books — I want to SELL those great books!!

    Tell Megan that I’ll be looking forward to reading her Spice novels, she just might prove me wrong . . . ;-) And just maybe she might give me something I can work with! LOL!

    Jolie

  8. Jane
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 13:35:43

    The problem isn’t that some EC or other epubbed authors are getting picked up by NY Pubs, it’s that once a reader is burned a few times within the line, they are hesitant to keep buying. Look at the bombshell line for an example of that.

    I’ve read my share of NY published romantic/erotica and I can say that next month I won’t be buying very many of those and if I continue to get disappointed, the 2007 releases won’t make much impact on me.

    I think this genre is one in which NY Pubs should be “net aware.” The readers who made EC a success and paved the way for other epublishers are the same market who is going to be buying the NY Pubbed stuff. The lack of an HEA is really going to drive the lines down.

    I watched with interest at the book pimping over at Sybil’s site: The Good, The Bad and the Unread. Most of the authors were going out of their way to say that their stuff is romantic. Why do they even need to qualify it like that? Because readers are thinking that these books are not romances.

    Further, I have found that even within the book, the romance is shunted aside for the sake of graphic sex or provocative sex. I can’t help but think that authors are being challenged to find more and more extreme sex to write about in attempt to meet that supposed need for more.

    Seton: I agree that to forget Susan Johnson was remiss. I am a big Susan Johnson fan and find that her stuff is just as hot as many of the “erotica/romantica” stuff I have been reading lately and twice as romantic. My favorite horse/sex scene would have to be from Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey.

  9. Jolie
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 13:47:05

    [quote comment="3936"]I am disappointed that Susan Johnson wasnt mentioned as a pioneer since she has been writing since the late 1970s and did coit de cheval scenes (sex on a horse) way before anyone else.[/quote]

    Seton — I’m sorry that you were disappointed that I didn’t mention Susan. If I mentioned everyone that wrote erotic romance successfully I would have had a 20 page blog — and Jane would not have been happy with me!!

    I even had to leave out some of my favorite authors like Emma Holly, Patrice Michelle, Jaci Burton, Michelle M. Pillow, Arianna Hart, Kate Douglas and oh who can forget THEA DEVINE??? (I CANNOT WAIT FOR HER NEXT BOOK!!! October 2006, His Little Black Book!!!)

    See there are so many . . .

    As for the F/F vs M/M, remember my blog was about what readers are looking for and buying. Readers have been very outspoken about F/F dislike, while M/M has remained very popular — increasingly so.

    EC is clearly listening to readers.

  10. seton
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 13:48:54

    LOL, the horse sex scene was the only memorable thing about SAVAGE THUNDER, although I will admit that the scene is very memorable. Not the biggest fan of Johanna Lindsey, especially when she was at the height of her popularity since i really didnt understand her appeal. I think her current popularity is more in measure to her abilities as a storyteller.

    My favorite coit de cheval is a Liz Madison short story in one of those erotic anhtologies, DELIGHTED (or something like that)

  11. seton
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 13:59:14

    Seton — I’m sorry that you were disappointed that I didn’t mention Susan. If I mentioned everyone that wrote erotic romance successfully I would have had a 20 page blog — and Jane would not have been happy with me!!

    Jolie,

    I understand but I didnt ask for a list of notable erotic authors that would fill 20 pages. You mentioned “founding" authors” and frankly there are maybe only about 4 or 5 authors in that category. Of which Susan Johnson is undisputably one of them.

  12. Jane
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 14:06:22

    I made an editorial change. Susan Johnson was a pioneer and at midnight when Jolie was writing up her article, probably just slipped Jolie’s mind. Thanks for the reminder, seton.

  13. Lauren
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 14:12:59

    Oh I know what you’re saying, Jolie. I was just talking about this earlier today as a matter of fact. I want these new lines to find their identity and stick with it. As an author and a reader, I like knowing what to expect from a certain line.

    Personally, IMO if it doesn’t have an HEA, it’s not romance. Now I like erotica, I read a lot of it. But I buy it knowing it’s erotica and my expectatations are different than they are with romantic erotica. I don’t take issue with books that don’t have an HEA, about 70% of what I read isn’t romance. But I have no issue with wanting lines to be clear about what they are and aren’t.

  14. Megan Hart
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 14:17:44

    Got a note I was being mentioned over here, so here I am. :) Jolie, I certainly hope that you will check out my books (if you’d like to read the first chapter, I have booklets I’m sending out to interested readers. All you need to do is send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll send you one.)

    authorm AT meganhart DOT com
    my website

    However, I have to say that my books, Dirty, Broken, and Perfect (that’s three, btw, not one title, LOL!) aren’t romance. Not that they aren’t in some places romantic. Not that they aren’t about relationships, and love between the main characters, and genuine depths of emotion. They are. But they’re not “romances” or erotic romance. I’d probably call them erotic women’s fiction. Anyone who’s looking specifically for a romance and romantic conventions, isn’t going to find it in my upcoming releases.

    Does this mean there’s no HEA? Absolutely not. I don’t like to read books that end on a downer. But instead of these specific three titles being about the journey of a relationship, they’re focused on the journey of heroine. Her sexual and romantic relationships are part of her growth as a woman. So, while the books end on positive notes, it’s not the traditional HEA a romance reader might be looking for.

    I agree the problem seems to stem from labelling. Erotic romance versus erotica versus romantica verses erotic fiction…books are being labelled to help readers find what they want, and sometimes they’re being mislabelled. Or under labelled. Or misrepresented, maybe.

    While my books aren’t romance in the traditional sense (my upcoming Spice books, I mean, I’ve written many romances for AQP) they are stories I think needed to be told. They’re sexually graphic and hot, definitely erotic, and filled with emotional reactions to situations I wanted to explore in each of the main characters’ lives.

    From what I can tell, Spice books aren’t being marketed as erotic romance. Mine say erotic novel novel on the front, not erotic romance, though I know the books are being placed in the romance section in many bookstores.

    Of course I want my books to sell — straight through the roof! :) Of course I want my books to be put in the hands of readers looking for the sorts of stories I’m trying to tell. I don’t want to disappoint anyone who’s picking up one of my Spice titles looking for a traditional romance with hot sex — that’s not the sort of books they are, or trying to be.

    Erotic romance and erotic fiction are incredibly popular right now. It’s going to take some time for the dust to settle after this whirlwind. I hope when it does, readers will have found lines and authors they love,and give new lines and authors a try, too.

    I feel there is room for erotic romance AND erotic fiction, side by side, a book for every taste. I love erotic romance. But sometimes I want to read something else. Still hot, still about real issues, but focused more on a woman’s journey and issues. And sometimes I want to read about haunted cars and scary dogs. :)

    Oh, as for Spice launching with me, wouldn’t that have been great? Except I didn’t write Dirty until last fall, Broken was finished this past spring and Perfect was finished this past July. :) I wasn’t even on their radar when they were picking the launch books!

    And anyone who’d like to read the first chapter of Dirty, the offer I made to Jolie applies. I have bookmarks, first chapter booklets, postcards and fun goodies to give away. If you’re interested, just email me with your mailing address and I’ll be happy to send some on.

    Or talk to you about my books, answer questions, chime in on the differences between erotic fiction and erotic romance, the hotness of Jude Law and Julian McMahon, how Joanna Lindsey inspired me growing up, why Lauren Dane rocks…I’m full of opinions.

    Megan

  15. Jennifer
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 15:06:46

    Interesting. I’m a reader who discovered erotica about a year ago and have been buying mainly from e-publishers since then.

    I’ve followed some of my favorite ebook authors to print, like Lora Leigh, and I do still buy from print publishers, just not as much as I used to.

    The reason I started buying more from ebook publishers? I like the steamier romance, and I discovered many fantastic authors who like to write it. But I do want a HEA, and the publishers I buy from provide them. I have absolutely NO interest in pure erotic material where there’s not a relationship and no indication that the main parties won’t be together forever in the end.

    I’m also not going to be inclined to be all that forgiving if I buy a print book in the romance section from one of these new lines and it doesn’t have a HEA. Talk about false advertising. I head straight for the romance sections in bookstores because that’s what I want — a romance. I just happen to now enjoy some steamy sex with my romance. That’s not something that’s going to change.

  16. Jane
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 15:16:40

    I’m with Jennifer. I like steamier romances but romances all the same. It isn’t enough that Avon or Spice is labeling the books erotica because they are marketing the books as romances to the booksellers and asking the booksellers to put the books in the romance aisle.

    Want to write erotic women’s fiction or chic lit? That’s great, but don’t ask to be shelved in the romance aisle because too many of those books and the entire line will go under ala Bombshell, Next and who ever else.

    There is a reason that romance is a billion dollar industry and it isn’t because “stories need to be told” but it is because it fufills the needs of a reader to read about characters who commit to each other. Whether that committment is wrapped in a paranormal, erotic, or Navy SEAL package is almost incidental.

    Frankly I don’t see alot of readers of chick lit and women’s fiction clamouring for more erotica. It just seems to be so far off the mark. No offense to Megan Hart, but those stories just aren’t ones I am interested in reading.

  17. Janine
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 16:20:59

    Yes, those lines will eventually fail, unless they market them to a different crowd. The romance readers who like hot scenes want that HEA. I want relationships, not the bedhopping woman and her growth through life’s journey. I was burned by one of those lines… It was displayed in the romance section, hence my expectations. With no HEA, it went straight to the garbage. I won’t buy from them again.

    I will stick by my tried and true authors (one, as you mentioned, is Lora Leigh who has made the transition without losing what made her so good for EC.)

    I want authors who can deliver on great stories, hot scenes and HEA. And i’ll be watching for some good recommends from people who read what I do… But I won’t blindly pick up a line again who promises heat and fails to deliver on some of the more important stuff.

  18. Janine
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 17:21:55

    Hey, it looks like we have two different Janines here! Because that wasn’t me (the Janine who writes for Dear Author) in the post just below. Hmmm… what should we do?

  19. Jolie
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 17:30:39

    LOL! Jane you pull no punches! I completely agree with you, Janine and Jennifer as well.

    As a reader I’m looking for not just a HEA, but an emotional commitment as well. That’s why I read romance. That’s why I read JR Ward — not because her books are about vampires — but because she delivers a great romance. No one will disagree about her vamps making a commitment in the end! Sexy, steamy, emotional, romantic and completely committed. That’s why I read Nicole Jordan – not because she writes historicals – but because she wraps her historicals in romance! I could go on and on, but the truth is romance is the genre I read. Paranormal, historical or erotica are just the vehicles they use to tell the romance.

    If Lora Leigh ever decided to write a different genre I might not read her anymore. It’s why I no longer read Iris Johansen. I’m not saying that there is no room for Iris Johansen on my personal bookshelf, but I have only so much time and money to spend on my books. I’m going to spend my time and money on romance.

    The truth is Harlequin *is* marketing Spice as erotic romance to the booksellers. Just as they did with Bombshell and Next. In our computers they are listed as ROMANCE! In fact, I double checked – Tease, Suzanne Forster, Spice – romance, contemporary romance. The Blonde Geisha, Jina Bacarr, Spice – romance, gothic romance. While the covers do say – An Erotic Novel – they are being placed next to Mary Balogh and Lori Foster.

    Maybe the question should be, who are New York publishers marketing their lines to? Where are they being advertised? When you answer those questions I think you’ll agree how readers can feel as though they are being mislead.

  20. Rosie
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 18:23:06

    When a publisher goes on line to see what romance readers like to read and what we are talking about, there are any number of Yahoo groups and forums where there is lots of conversation about sex, sex with a character from a book, sex in different positions, sex with toys, pictures of naked men, Lindsay Lohan’s vagina…you get my drift. There’s lots of discussion about all kinds of sex and so it isn’t that difficult to see that a reasonable person (publisher) might conclude that women want to see, hear, read and talk about sex and men.

    So to a certain degree, don’t we shoot ourselves in the foot here? Yes, it’s all in good fun. I’ve enjoyed it, laughed and participated in the discussions myself. However, with the popularity of the book and shows like SEX IN THE CITY it’s not hard to see how publishers might think romance readers want more sex in books and are less concerned with having a relationship driven romance.

    For the most part, I don’t think the person who is reading SEX IN THE CITY is picking up Nalini Singh’s SLAVE TO SENSATION. However, these new lines sound more in line with SITC than StS but will be shelved in the Romance section as a one-size fits all sort of thing. It’s up to us then with our dollars and sense to be careful what we buy. Our spending is the only way we have to voice an opinion that a publisher will listen to.

  21. Janine B
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 21:03:46

    Oh, yikes, I am a different Janine… I added the “B” so ya’ll will know I’m not the regular Janine who writes for Dear Author. But I do review… and my reviewer name is Jolie… go figure! ;)

  22. Janine
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 21:16:40

    LOL. And thank you, Janine B., for adding that initial.

  23. Shelley Bradley
    Sep 18, 2006 @ 21:43:48

    I LOVE this discussion. As someone who writes for both NYC and online publishers, I agree that NYC doesn’t always get it. I’m always telling my print editor things that EC, Samhain and other online publishers are doing and what readers are loving, and she’s often surprised. Or seems to be.

    I think it’s also interesting that, when I see a list of print erotic romance lines, Berkley Heat is almost never mentioned. Why is that? I’m under contract for 2 books for that line as Shayla Black. The first, WICKED TIES, comes out in January. They keep saying the line is doing well, but I have no notion if that’s actually true… I don’t think Heat requires an HEA, but I’ve never written anything but–and I never will.

  24. Janine B
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 07:58:17

    Shelley, I am SO glad to hear that. I honestly didn’t know that Berkley Heat didn’t have an HEA requirement, but if it has your name, I know it’s gotta be in there! YEAH!

    As a reader, how am I to know how to pick and choose among the rest of the Heat line to find what I am looking for? Maybe that’s why some of these lines are failing. If I buy a Heat book with an HEA and love it, then I would automatically assume that the rest are written with relationships and HEA’s in mind. But the first time that I’d pick up one that doesn’t follow that premise would be the last book I’d trust from that line. Others like me could be the reason for falling numbers.

    I think NY Pubs are making a big mistake in mixing erotic fiction and erotic romance. If I want a mystery or horror, I know just where in the bookstore to shop. If I want romance, I should be able to shop in that department and get exactly what I want, no matter the heat level.

    Think of it as a “trust” relationship. If I can’t trust the line to deliver on the HEA that I demand, there is no relationship.

  25. Jane
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 08:04:31

    Think of it as a “trust" relationship. If I can’t trust the line to deliver on the HEA that I demand, there is no relationship.

    It’s about building and destroying brand loyalty. Hmm. Will have to blog about this on Monday.

  26. Monica Burns
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 09:25:53

    I’m definitely coming into this discussion late, but I’m convinced the confusion is all related to the labeling and lack of understanding about the differences between erotica and erotic romance (Romantica is a trademark of Ellora’s Cave) as NY sees it.

    Erotica is sex based on emotions, sometimes love, but it can be other emotions too, hate, revenge, anger, etc. Erotica can have the HEA but that’s not a requirement. Good erotica will definitely have a storyline that gives the reader more than just sex for sex sake.

    Erotic romance can be as hot as Erotica, but it MUST have the HEA.

    I’m not a lover of pigeon holes or rules, but in this care, I think NY needs to understand the differences between erotic romance and erotica or lines will have problems. Although I’m an author, I’m a reader too, so I listen carefully to other readers about authors that they find hot reads. It’s how I found JR Ward. I really enjoy her books. I tend to buy authors not lines because I’ve a pretty good idea what I’m getting. I will try new authors, but if I don’t enjoy the first book, it will take some real sweet talk for me to buy another. I think most readers lean in that direction.

    Just my .02 FWIW

    Monica

  27. Jane
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 09:29:33

    What I think is fairly telling is that the successful epublishers such as Ellora’s Cave, Samhain and Loose ID all specialize in providing the romance and not so much on the erotica. Where is the data that says that there is a void for erotica? If there was such a void, wouldn’t the epublishers be trying to fill that?

  28. Monica Burns
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 09:42:34

    [quote comment="3973"]…Where is the data that says that there is a void for erotica? If there was such a void, wouldn’t the epublishers be trying to fill that?[/quote]

    Precisely, which goes to my point that NY doesn’t seem to understand the difference between erotica and erotic romance. I will say this, I think it’s easier for ePubs to define a trend, because the expense of putting an eBook out there is FAR less than a print book. They can adapt far more easily than NY. It’s why a lot of ePubs who’ve gone small press will only put a book in print that’s done well in eBook sales, or if they’ve a guarantee that the author is popular enough to sustain the print sales.

    Monica

  29. Janine B
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 10:25:22

    Because it costs more to pub a print book as compared to an ebook, I would think the NY pubs would do more research. It looks to me like some are… but others are trying to get a piece of the market without knowing and understanding their audience…those ones will fail.

  30. Chris R
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 13:17:33

    NY does not know what readers want. If they want to find their niche, then they should come out with their stories in paperback (not trade), with a happy ending and a good storyline. While I love many of the electronic publishers stuff (Changeling, Loose Id, Venus Press to name a few) it can be very expensive to buy a trade size book.

    I have to decide if the trade is worth going without 2 other books and if I don’t like the trade after I have spent the money on it. I very rarely will make the decision to try another book from that line.

  31. Charlene
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 15:06:02

    I’m one of the people who’d love to see erotic romances in mass market paperback! I’d buy more of them, and I’m sure sell more, too. The expense of a trade paperback makes it much harder to take a chance on somebody new.

    I’ve been watching the results of the NY erotica/erotic romance lines and have to say I am very pleased that St. Martin’s places a lot of importance on the happy ending and having a satisfying romance; they truly are publishing erotic ROMANCE.

    And knowing Berkley Heat doesn’t require an HEA, I’ll be buying by author and taking few chances. I know Jaci Burton’s upcoming Heat book is a romance!

  32. Jane
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 15:18:22

    This might sound silly, but how do readers know if it is a romance or not? If you read the teaser/blurb for Suzanne Forster’s Tease, it reads like a romance but there is no committment at the end of that story. I would have probably bought Megan Hart’s first book given the fact that I really liked the novella I read by her “Playing the Game” but hers are clearly not a romance.

    It’s so hard and that just isn’t good marketing. Don’t make it hard on us readers!

  33. Rosie
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 15:52:12

    Yes, don’t make it so hard on readers who are standing in the store, money in hand ready to buy…wanting to buy, but juggling three different books undecided whether to buy one, two, or all three. I was so wishy washy I left without making a purchase. That was last week.

    Of course, I’ll probably be stopping by Barnes & Noble after I pick my son up from school today to see if there are any new releases I can’t live without. I’m ever hopeful.

  34. Ruth
    Sep 19, 2006 @ 16:29:32

    I was SHOCKED, to find out that NY publishers don’t think a happy ending is required. Are they crazy, I read romance to escape… it is FANTASY !!!! What I wish would happen, and I don’t know any woman who doesn’t want a happy ending.

    I absolutely love romantica because it is simply that romance with an edge. Definitely not cookie cutter, no limits, it allows me to be completely and absolutely involved in the story. However the most important thing is the ROMANCE, the story, the plot. If all I wanted was sex there are plenty of things out there to read. I feel like those kind of books leave me empty, kind of like a meal you ate just because you were hungry as opposed to relished. And if I’m bringing out my pocket book, I want the whole experience the romance, the plot, the edgey sex and DEFINTELY the HEA. Even when I read about Menages, I want them to end up all together.

    Another thing that bothers me is the covers, I really wish that they would respect the reader. I want to be able to carry my books out it public without people looking at me funny. I don’t like graphic images, computer generated images, bubble gum images…. come on now. I think that the cover of JR Ward’s vamp series, are beautiful and tasteful. I wish more were done along those lines.

    I think that if NY publisher would just respect the readers, and realize that we are women who are intelligent, wise and successful… with money to spend on a couple of hours of an indulgent, romantic, erotic fantasy… that leaves you sighing and sometimes with a tear or two in your eyes.

  35. holly
    Sep 21, 2006 @ 03:41:20

    WHAT!!!! no happy endings!!! are they NUTS????!!!!! why waste the time out our very busy lives- and waste the money- if there are no happy endings?? too many real life situations have no happy endings. why would we want to re-inforce the sadness by reading those kind of books? i read for an uplifting feeling as well as for the entertainment. when i pick up a paperback or buy an e-book, i want to know that a good ending is guaranteed. also, how do you know what level of heat or what kind of endings you are getting if you buy paperbacks? at least the e-books have some sort of ratings system and usually content descriptions (ie, BDSM, paranormal, shapeshifter, etc ) so you know what you are getting and you can avoid content that you find distasteful. and book covers…. please! do the companies even know the content of the books when they plop ridiculous covers that have no bearing what-so-ever on the book content? the book companies better listen to the dedicated bibliophiles and get themselves back on track or their business will go to the e-book publisher’s. i know most of my purchases have been e-books for quite a while.

  36. Monica Burns
    Sep 21, 2006 @ 09:28:05

    The one thing I should have added in my earlier quote is that any reader who doesn’t like something about the way a particular publisher does business. Email or write them about your dissatisfaction. They’re like any other company who recieves complaints. If you get enough complaints or bad sales because of customer dissatisfaction, then they will change.

    Case in point, for years Burlington Coat factory refused to give people money refunds on returned merchandise. Enough people complained that they finally relented. Customer protests DO work.

    Contact the publishers and tell them what you want.

  37. Sarah McCarty
    Nov 10, 2006 @ 12:21:28

    I’m really late coming to this discussion, but I’m looking forward to many of the books in this line as a reader and as an author. Spice bought my Hell’s Eight Series (erotic western histroical) (Thanks Alison for pointing that out) and just like with my Promise series, these books are third person and with a very strong, definite HEA. Being a mainstream imprint versus a line, Spice has a lot of latitude to showcase different voices and styles, and therefore, I think will have something for everyone.

    Sarah

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