Last week I was shocked when, on a loop for published and aspiring authors, I noticed that there were some that didn't understand the difference between erotica and erotic romance. Not only that, thoughts were expressed that clearly showed many thought they were the same thing. OMG, NO!! I know there's not really an industry standard when it comes to a definition of these areas but I wanted to clarify at least here (and in my opinion) what those differences are. Because I think it's important. The below comes from the Passionate Ink website actually and I think provide very concise differentiators:
Erotica: stories written about the sexual journey of the characters and how this impacts them as individuals. Emotion and character growth are important facets of a true erotic story. However, erotica is NOT designed to show the development of a romantic relationship, although it’s not prohibited if the author chooses to explore romance. Happily Ever Afters are NOT an intrinsic part of erotica, though they can be included.
Erotic Romance: stories written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction. The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and couldn’t be removed without damaging the storyline. Happily Ever After is a REQUIREMENT to be an erotic romance.
I really hate all the labels, but writing and books have to be categorized so that readers know what to expect. It's hard enough dealing with the preconceived ideas and notions of the 'general population' about what romance, erotic romance and erotica is I guess that I was just so blown away that there were authors out there within the genre who hadn't grasped these nuances.
So...I write romance first and foremost. There's no question of that. I write about the relationship between two people (M/F) who either have a HEA or a HFN. And yeah, it's hot and steamy, but it's an important element of that developing relationship. Could I write erotica? Sure I could, but I don't really want to. Could I write menages? Maybe, although there would have to be circumstances that would warrant that situation in my mind so that it would still be a 'romance'. Could I write M/M? I don't think so. I don't really 'feel' these relationships and I don't think I would do justice to them.
I've read some really great erotica, but for me as a writer I'm too interested in the dynamics and complexities and in exploring the M/F interaction. I love to get into the depths of the alpha male psyche, a guy who's finally found the one woman to crack that tough exterior and do things he wouldn't have ever imagined doing. That's what I absolutely love to write. It's romance or erotic romance, but not erotica!
Okay, I was kind of on my soapbox a tiny bit LOL. I'll climb down now. Carry on!!