I get so frustrated with different romance authors and different romance sites and their varying definition of “romance” and “erotic.” Some romance site say, “no erotica.” Some say, “No erotic.” Some list very clear heat levels, which is great, but others are vague, and some use the word “erotica” when they mean “erotic romance.”
If you aren’t clear on the difference or what I mean by heat level, usually it’s a 1-5 with 1 being “no sex” and 5 being “explicit sex.” Some romance is referred to as “sweet” romance, where there might be sex but it’s behind closed doors.
There’s a new (ish) genre of romance called erotic romance. It’s different from erotica. In erotica, there’s no need for the story to involve a relationship at all, or a happily ever after. In erotic romance, the sex might be explicit, but there’s a relationship and a happily ever after.
And making it more complicated, some sites consider your work to be erotic if there is anything non heterosexual, non monogamous. So a menage or gay romance would automatically be “erotic” level, even if it’s not explicit.
The reason I’m grinding on this is because some romance sites allow for promotion, but only for non-erotic. So then you have to figure out what their definition of erotic is, because it’s apparently subjective.
I get the need for boundaries and heat ratings, and some sites want to keep it PG 13 or whatever. I just get frustrated when it isn’t clear, and when the definition of a word like erotic changed depending on which site we’re on.
My writing, depending on the rating scale, tends to sit between a 4 and a 5. My stuff (other than the werewolf menages) isn’t quite as spicy as erotic romance authors like Emma Holly or Angela Knight. There stuff will singe your toenails, and I love it! But my writing is explicit, even my urban fantasy and (forthcoming) high fantasy.
I also admit, I have a hard time figuring out the difference between PG 13 and R, and especially between R and NC 17.