Or the evolution of an editor’s reading tastes from sweet to hot to sizzling!
I don’t think I ever imagined writing the headline “Erotic Romance, Menage and More” when I first began my publishing career – or even when I first wondered what a book editor did as I shelved novels at my local library. As I wondered what kinds of jobs people who worked in publishing held, and the only job I know of was editor, I concluded the editor most likely wrote the back cover copy. It never occurred to me that people actually got paid to read books and if you had told me I most likely would not have believed you. To my fourteen-year-old self it just sounded too good to get paid to read.
Nevertheless, many years later I did get a job in publishing reading books and moved through several publishers to land a fantastic editorial job at Harlequin. While my Harlequin editorial career eventually lead to me working in the digital space, I did spend a decade working on the series print business and edited some really hot books!
When I edited Temptation novels I fondly recall publishing both Tiffany White and Mallory Rush, category writers who really pushed the boundaries of what might be permissible in a sexy category romance. We wanted to title one of Tiffany’s books FRENCH KISS but the suggestion was overruled as too provocative. Really. It was 1990something. By the time Mallory’s LOVE SLAVE came around the powers-that-be had come to understand the effectiveness of a really great sexy title on sales. We received over 100 pieces of fan mail about LOVE SLAVE, which trust me, is a really high number of fan letters, especially in the olden days when people had to write and then mail their letter!
Harlequin Blaze was a miniseries in Temptation that eventually evolved into a stand alone series – which had always been the plan. We wanted to publish even sexier books because we knew there was a hungry audience for them, but certain big accounts did not like having a romance series labeled as super sexy. Hence we created a miniseries that readers would understand, and the big national account could just ignore.
Now my reading evolution has gone even further because I am on the acquisitions team of Carina Press. I’ve read erotica, erotic romance, menages (and more!). Super hot steamy novels appeal to readers because when they are well-written, they are incredibly honest and real about relationships. After all, what is more honest than sex? Making love is when we truly reveals who we are. Sure there’s a great entertainment factor in increasing the sexual tension, at writing about couples in outrageous even scandalous situations, but great sex scenes also reveal how a couple (or however many!) fall in love. If it’s a romance the love scenes change over the course of the book, to reflect the changes in the growing relationship. The sex needs to reflect the gamut of emotions the couple experiences.
Which is my very long-winded way of saying we are looking for more erotic romance and erotica at Carina Presss. Check out what we’ve been publishing and our submission guidelines and send us your work! If you’ve got a great story to tell we would love to publish it.
Curious? Explore Harlequin’s “Curious Reader’s Guide to Erotic Romance”