Previously, I discussed what I thought distinguished erotica from porn, and I very briefly touched on how genres are a confusing matter.
I get the feeling that many readers don’t see this, or perhaps see it but don’t spend much time considering it.
If you go to a bookstore, be it brick and mortar or online, there is no “porn” section for fiction. Basically, anything that would be porn is classified as erotica. This can be confusing since they aren’t necessarily the same thing. Yet, even with the abundance of pure porn writing, I don’t foresee a breakout genre for it ever being made official.
So how do you find what you want? Covers, to start, and then the blurb. Very few retailers make it easy to separate an erotic sexual journey from a novel consisting of non-stop orgies. This is just as frustrating to writers as it is to readers. Our best bet in sales is to ensure our stories reach our target audience. Shoddy genre groupings hurt us from sharing our creations and halt readers from finding them.
Being a writer of steamy romance (explicit sex–sometimes labeled “romantica”) means that I have to be careful on how I market my writing, thus the label of “steamy” which is generally understood to mean that I go into detail with the love scenes. The only two genres my current novel can safely fit into are “urban fantasy” and “romance” and at first glance, this is fine. However, there are plenty of readers who want to see fade-to-black lovemaking or at the max, innuendo with no four-letter words. Those readers will probably faint when reading my novel, but short of putting a giant EXPLICIT CONTENT disclaimer, I can’t do much. And why not put a disclaimer? Because a disclaimer means that Amazon may just override my genre choice and shove it into the naughty erotica section, where it will be hell to find.
Genres are tricky business. Sorry there’s no resolution here.
(Also posted to my Tumblr)