Friday, August 5, 2005

Erotica vs. erotic romance

(I just updated this post to fix some errors on my part.)

The last time this subject blew up in the blogosphere, there was some ranting about how people continue to erroneously call erotic romance "erotica." Could that be partly because the biggest magazine that deals with romance can't get it right either? I notice RT still refers to the section in which they review erotic romance novels as "erotica."

And here's an exchange from their letters section. A reader wrote in and said the recent RWA uproar about graphical standards was justified because "I would venture to say it's covers like the ones depicted on pages 124 and 125 (August issue) that the RWA board finds troubling. I personally find several of the covers offensive and more suited to Playboy than RT... I have children and teens in my house, and since RT has decided to include erotica ads and reviews in its pages, I routinely go through the magazine and rip out ads and reviews..."

Sounds a bit like the comments made over at Squawk Radio a while back, doesn't it? Romance used to be so clean till erotic romance came along... darn erotic romance for corrupting our sweet, innocent, wholesome genre *insert sarcastic eye roll here*. RT responds quite sensibly, "Many romance novels are not suited for children (in both content and cover art) so we do not recommend that children read our magazine."

But they totally drop the ball by also saying, "While we do understand your concerns, the graphic covers you refer to are for erotica books, not romances, so they are appropriate for that genre."

Guys. Please. It's "erotic romance," not "erotica," and yes, they are a part of the romance genre. THEY ARE ROMANCES.

When RT can't get it right, can you blame readers for being confused?

I dug out my August issue and checked the pages referenced, and the ad referred to is actually... an NCP ad:-). (And of course the RWA flap had nothing to do with NCP, since it isn't an RWA-recognized pub, but we can't expect a reader to know that.) It's an ad for our erotic romance authors, but the only cover that I would consider slightly more risque than an ordinary romance cover is Julie Keaton's STRANGER IN MY BED, which shows a man's naked rump. (I'd link to it, but the book doesn't seem to have been issued and is no longer on NCP's Coming Soon page... maybe its release was delayed for some reason.) Then there's JA-RAEL'S LIONESS, which does have a nude heroine, but she's pretty well covered a la Lady Godiva-- certainly no more risque than this Heinlein cover from a major NY publisher. The other NCP books in the ad are pretty standard romance covers, including one of my faves, Eliza Black's stunning cover for THE FALLEN.

So it's not just EC anymore... NCP is also contributing to the decline of civilization as we know it!

Let me add that I don't mean to diss RT, which is kind enough to accept our ads and review our books. But I do wish they'd figure out the difference between "erotica" and "erotic romance."


  1. I noticed that very same thing...and thought the very same thing, reading the letter and looking at the erotic romance reviews. *sigh*

  2. Live that Heinlein cover too. But it is certainly risque.