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A GUY’S GUIDE TO WRITING WOMEN’S EROTICA

A GUY’S GUIDE TO WRITING WOMEN’S EROTICA By Tink Boord-Dill

By Tink Boord-Dill

IMPORTANT COPYRIGHT NOTICE

You are not permitted to sell or give away copies of this report.

Copyright © 2012 Tink Boord-Dill. All Rights Reserved.

LEGAL NOTICE: DISCLAIMER AND TERMS OF USE AGREEMENT

The author of this manual makes no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this report.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

3

READER ADVISORY

7

INTRODUCTION

7

WOMEN’S EROTICA - A WIDE OPEN MARKET

7

WOMEN’S EROTICA IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM MEN’S

11

SIMPLY CHANGING THE POINT OF VIEW IS NOT THE

12

TWO KINDS OF WOMEN’S EROTICA

13

OVERVIEW

14

OVERVIEW

OF WOMENS EROTICA ONLINE

14

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

14

WE FICTION IS DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT FROM ME FICTION

15

DECIPHERING THE FORMULA

15

WHAT WOMEN ARE LOOKING FOR

19

WE GUIDELINES FROM SUCCESSFUL PUBLISHERS

20

ELLORAS

CAVE

21

Points to Ponder regarding Ellora’s Cave Submission Guidelines

23

SAMHAIN ROMANCE

23

Points to Ponder regarding Samhain Submission Guidelines

24

EXTASY BOOKS

24

Points to Ponder regarding Extasy Submission Guidelines

27

RESPLENDENCE PUBLISHING

27

Points to Ponder regarding Resplendence Publishing Submission Guidelines

28

LOOSE ID PUBLISHING

28

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Points to Ponder regarding Loose ID Submission Guidelines

30

SIREN PUBLISHING

30

Points to Ponder regarding Siren Submission Guidelines

41

WE GUIDELINES -- CONCLUSION

41

THEMES, GENRES, AND CATEGORIES

42

MEN’S FANTASIES VS WOMEN’S FANTASIES

42

THEMES, CATEGORIES, AND GENRES… OH, MY!

45

QUICK REVIEW OF ELLORA”S CAVE GUIDELINES

45

ELLORAS CAVE

GENRES

45

ELLORAS CAVE

THEMES

48

FINDING THE POPULAR THEMES AND GENRES

51

A WOMAN’S POINT OF VIEW

52

WHY AVOID FIRST PERSON?

52

CREATE WOMEN’S FANTASIES

53

AVOID WOMEN’S NIGHTMARES

53

PLOTS AND CHARACTERS

55

PLOTS

55

Boy Falls for Girl

56

CHARACTERS

57

The

HERO

57

The

HEROINE

58

Secondary Characters

59

Walk-On Characters

59

LANGUAGE GUIDELINES

60

NEVER MEASURE

60

HERS

61

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HIS

62

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR READERS

62

BOOK DESCRIPTIONS

63

LENGTH OF BOOK

63

HEAT RATING

63

READER ADVISORIES

63

STARTING YOUR WE WRITING

PLAN OF ATTACK

RESOURCES

66

67

69

FORUMS

69

KINDLE THREADS

69

RELATED ARTICLES

70

ABBREVIATIONS USED WHEN DISCUSSING WOMENS EROTICA

71

SUGGESTED READING

72

Writing in Series

73

Lora Leigh

73

Maya Banks

75

Gail Faulkner

75

Kristin Ashley

75

Cherise Sinclair

76

Victoria Heywood

76

HEAT LEVEL EXAMPLES

76

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS

76

RESPLENDENCE PUBLISHING

77

SIREN BOOKS

78

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CHARACTER TEMPLATES

79

HEROINE

79

HERO

80

FINAL THOUGHTS

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READER ADVISORY

Needless to say, a topic such as erotica, is going to entail using language and describing situations which some may consider offensive.

If you ARE offended, I respectfully suggest that erotica may not be the niche for you!

Let me also say that the opinions expressed within this report are my own. They are not based on any scientific evidence or testing, but they ARE based on years of buying, reading, and enjoying womens erotica.

INTRODUCTION

The first question to ask is why you, a male, want to write Women’s Erotica — WE. I don’t read Men’s Erotica - ME, but as I understand it, it is also a big, lucrative, and, importantly, a serial purchasing market on the Kindle.

There have been several info products touting the financial success that can be made by writing and publishing erotica. As a result, there are many men now looking to enter the field of Women’s Erotica.

Let me preface this by saying that I personally am not particularly familiar with Men’s Erotica. I don’t read it on purpose and I am not familiar with its availability online. From what I have heard, it is a strong market at least on Amazon.

If you are interested in a mainly historical overview of the evolution of Male Erotica online, here is an interesting read:

I will admit that, out of curiosity, I did take a peek at ”The Big Penis Book”. As a woman, I found it more ludicrous than stimulating. Sorry.

WOMEN’S EROTICA - A WIDE OPEN MARKET

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Which brings me to what I DO know, (and appreciate) which is Women’s Erotica.

If you have been keeping up with the news, you may have heard something about “50 Shades of Gray”, a self-published Amazon bestseller. Written by English author E. L James, it has been picked up for print by Vintage Books, part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. 50 Shades, the first in a trilogy, and its two siblings were purchased in a bidding war for a seven-figure sum.

The significance of this is that in the eyes of the American mainstream press, Erotica — in this case, Women’s Erotica — seems to have come of age.

What many are missing is the fact that Women’s Erotica has been a quiet, if hot selling genre online for a number of years. For close to 10 years, Ellora’s Cave has been gaining recognition as a leading publisher of Women’s Erotica. Along with several other digital publishers and a few imprints from print publishers, the Women’s Erotica genre has even made it into mainstream print bookstores, and trust me, with the current state of print publishing, the paper print runs usually about $14.95 trade paperbacks, say that this is a successful and lucrative market.

I will say that the odds of having a self-published Women’s Erotica book make it into print (other than a self-publishing print option) is pretty low. However, the current state of the digital market is a very good one for self-published authors.

Let’s look at some figures here:

Jaid Black, the author and founder of Ellora’s Cave, put her Women’s Erotica online after being told there was not market for the subniche. Her first year sales were $43,000.

In 2010, the date of the article where I found these figures (See link below) Ellora’s Cave was expected to pull in $5 million.

NOTE - The majority of EC stories are what I call Women’s Romantic Erotica (WRE), but they also sell Women’s Erotica No Romance (WENR) and they are just now starting to expand into Men’s Erotica.

Here is a brief quote for the article:

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<QUOTE>

Ellora’s Cave publishes erotic romance–basically, romance with a much higher proportion of bedroom scenes. Perhaps not surprisingly, the e-book format fits nicely with this genre; purchasers might hesitate to buy printed erotic romance books in a bookstore, but there’s not much danger of embarrassment in downloading an e-book from a web site.

They now publish approximately ten new titles a week, all as e-books, and maintain an extensive backlist (why take an e-book out of print?) of over 2800 titles; and they’ve started offering their bestsellers as print books, too, BUT with a big twist.

Because they don’t want print sales to interfere with their main e-book sales, print editions are released 3-6 months after the initial e-book.

EC also allows various retailers to carry their products, but with a window of at least a couple of weeks, so EC is sure to capture the initial direct-to- consumer sales from their most rabid customers on every new title. And direct-to-consumer purchasers are well-rewarded for buying directly from EC: they receive roughly 50 percent off the retail price. The average price for an EC title on their site is between $5 and $6; on Amazon, the Kindle versions sell for $11 to $12.

In other words, EC has, through disciplined pricing and format decisions, retained its direct to consumer model, and thus retained control and maximized profitability.

Royalties are dramatically different than typical publishing contracts, too. Authors receive 37.5 percent of the cover price of e-books–yes, that’s right, 37.5 percent. They receive a more traditional 7.5 percent on the p-book version; and all royalties are calculated and paid monthly!

<END QUOTE>

Here it the link to the full article. It is definitely a worthwhile read:

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In addition to online publishers focusing on Women’s Erotica (and I assure you there are many others and I discuss some of them later in this report) there are also online retailers specializing in Women’s Erotica.

One of the biggest retailers is All Romance eBooks (ARe):

While researching this report, I found a December 2010 New York Times article, discussing the success of ARe:

<QUOTE>

At All Romance, an online retailer that sells only e-books, sales have more than doubled this year, and the most sought-after titles are usually the raciest.

“It’s easier to check out some naughty little title online than in a brick-and- mortar store where your pastor could step up in line behind you,” said Barb Perfetti, the chief financial officer of All Romance. “We’ve had lots of customers write to us and say, ‘Now I don’t always have to show my husband what I’m reading.’ ”

<END QUOTE>

As you can see from the above quote, the inherent nature of digital delivery has worked in favor of Women’s Erotica.

1) PRIVACY - A Women’s Erotica title can be read privately. On a Kindle or ereader, no one can see what you are reading!

2) AVAILABILITY - Many more titles are available online than in brick and mortar book stores. My local book store DOES carry Women’s Erotica, but there are less than 12 linear feet of shelf space and they generally get only one or two of any title

3) CONVENIENCE - Online you can purchase 24/7/365 with no one standing behind you in line…

All in all, Women’s Erotica in the digital format is a hot and lucrative market.

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As I touched on earlier, this is a good market for self- published authors especially because there are far more publishing opportunities than just Amazon. You can submit to other publishers or even place your titles on the virtual bookshelves of an online retailer such as All Romance eBooks.

In fact, at this point, Women’s Erotica is a wide open, money producing juggernaut and, I expect, that “50 Shades of Gray” going mainstream may create a large number of readers who are new to the genre and looking for more Womens’ Erotica…

While I don’t know how lucrative men’s erotica is, I do know that there are many rabid readers for women’s erotica. They have money to spend and, perhaps best of all, they spend often. They keep track of when favorite authors and publishers are introducing new work, and they often purchase as soon as the new titles are available, and sometimes even pre-purchase.

All of this is appealing to those of us who wish to create an effective Kindle income stream…

If you are truly interested in writing Women’s Erotica, please read on.

WOMEN’S EROTICA IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM MEN’S EROTICA.

Recently, I was on a forum discussing this very issue. What I saw was male authors/publishers agreeing that the two (Women’s Erotica and Men’s Erotica) were different, but the differences they recognized seemed to be limited to changing the Point of View - POV. (More about POV later on)

One person posting on one of the discussion threads seemed to be focusing on what he perceived as the hypocrisy involved with using the term erotica. His point of view was that if it is porn, call it porn.

No matter what YOU want to call either version (men’s or women’s) in private, I respectfully recommend that out in public, where there are women, you’d best call the women’s version *erotica* LOL

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Whether you consider it hypocrisy or not, it IS a marketing reality!

The most important point to realize is that, no matter what you call them, Women’s Erotica and Men’s Erotica are two completely different literary genres.

SIMPLY CHANGING THE POINT OF VIEW IS NOT THE SOLUTION.

When I looked at several works by one author (at his request), my concerns were confirmed. He had made changes, but they were superficial…

The stories he provided were what any female reader would consider Male Erotica.

Ellora’s Cave has recently started a line of Men’s Erotica and in their Submission Guidelines they do a very good job of succinctly explaining the differences between Men’s and Women’s Erotica.

<QUOTE>

Realistic wording and dialogue for male characters (not the language women WISH men spoke); this extends to the male narrative

~ Written from male POV preferred

~ Should be aimed at male sexual fantasies (what men think of when they get off)

~ More of what men want or need from women: sex, love, acceptance,

admiration, dirty talk; less of what they don't need (judgment, drama,

expectation of anticipating woman's needs)

* Examples include, but are in no way limited to:

- Women taking the initiative during sex

- Female pursuit of the man

- Voyeurism of female/female sex (as well as F/M/F and F/F/M themes)

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- Risky sexual situations or locations; a sense of the forbidden (e.g. the boss's mistress, the maid, the college professor, sex in public, etc.)

Remember that sex is largely visual and verbal for men (for women, it is mainly mental and emotional). Men polled preferred "real women" (natural as opposed to surgically enhanced) and wanted women to "do some of the work". Interpret that as you will!

<END QUOTE>

TWO KINDS OF WOMEN’S EROTICA

Another reality is that there are actually two kinds of Women’s Erotica — WE.

There is Romantic Erotica WRE, think erotic but with a very strong romantic component both within the plot and the characters themselves, and which is by far the largest segment of the market (Note - we are talking sales and readers in the millions here) Remember that sex for women, is mainly mental and emotional.

There is also Women’s Erotica with No Romance — WENR. Women’s Erotica with No Romance is a much smaller segment of the Women’s Erotica market

In the interest of clarity and for the purpose of discussion in this report, we will be discussing WRE - Women’s Romantic Erotica and WENR — Women’s Erotica with No Romance.

While the two types, WRE and WENR, are different and have somewhat different reader markets, they also have a large number of similarities.

In both WRE and WENR, the plots, character development, language, situations, and yes, even the mechanics, are going to be vastly different from Mens Erotica.

If you don’t recognize and respect these differences, your forays into writing WE, either WRE or WENR, are going to be unsuccessful, and probably dramatically so.

Fortunately for you, there are amazing online resources which tell you EXACTLY what women are looking for. We will be covering

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this in detail. In addition, we will also be exploring HOW to provide what women are looking for.

OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW OF WOMENS EROTICA ONLINE

Women’s Erotica — both WRE and WENR, is a BIG business online, and has been since long before Kindles and other eReaders.

There are a large number of independent WE publishers online and several of them have been successful enough to be able to move some of their titles into print and place them in major book chains. If you are unfamiliar with the world of publishing and distributors, let me assure you that this is a REALLY BIG deal!

A primary difference between the established, independent online WE publishers and the Kindle publishing options, is that the independent WE publishers have very strict Author Submission guidelines and standards and they will not accept any work that does not meet those requirements.

All of this translates into good news for any upcoming writer or publisher of WE, because these standards, along with the books that have been published, provide you with guidelines, formats, and examples of successful women’s erotic literature. To put it simply, your research is done for you.

These guidelines clearly explain WHAT the WE publishers are looking for along with information about what sells and what is most popular.

We will be exploring these phenomenal resources a bit later

on.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

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I have seen some online discussion with men who want to write WE. Various sources about entering this field have given the advice to write from the woman’s Point of View (POV)

Unfortunately, it seems that many have taken this to mean writing in the first person, using the female protagonist as narrator, but making no other changes.

From the discussion and from reading some of the fiction written in response, I can tell you that simply writing in the first person, and having the narrator be female is not enough… by a long shot!

WE FICTION IS DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT FROM ME FICTION

One of the biggest challenges facing new authors and publishers, especially males who are not intimately familiar with the genre (and yes the pun WAS intended… sorry!) is that they do not understand the nuances of Women’s Erotica.

Obviously, like any genre fiction, there are standards and formulae involved. If you don’t meet the expectation of your targeted reading audience -- by providing what they want -- you won’t find success in any niche.

DECIPHERING THE FORMULA

So… how do you get a handle on the WE formulae?

Let me take a moment to remind you that there are 2 types of WE: WRE - Womens Romantic Erotica and WENR - Womens Erotica with No Romance. There are more similarities than differences between the two. WRE is a MUCH larger market so I am going to make it my primary focus. However, once you understand WRE, writing WENR will be much simpler. ;-)

Let’s take a moment to explore exactly how one of the premier Women’s Erotica publishers actually describes WRE.

Ellora’s Cave was one of the first of the online WE publishers. Ellora’s Cave publishes both WRE and WENR but as two different product lines.

WRE is their Romantica® line and WENR is their EXOTIKA™

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They are the ones who trademarked the term Romantica® and the term EXOTIKA™. Note that because the terms have been trademarked they are the only ones who can use those words/terms.

Let’s go to their website and read their definition of WRE. http://www.jasminejade.com/t-romantica.aspx

I have placed some important passages in BOLD and will discuss them in detail, after the quote.

<< Quote >>

Romantica® is the name for the line of erotic romance novels published by Ellora’s Cave Publishing. Erotic romance is defined by us as: any work of literature that is both romantic and sexually explicit in nature. Within this genre, the main protagonists develop "in love" feelings for one another that culminate in a monogamous relationship.

Romantica® doesn't begin from the premise that women's sexual experiences are dirty and therefore in need of being perfumed up by flowery phrases. The premise of Romantica™ is that women's sexual experiences are legitimate, positive, and beautiful. Ellora's Cave Romantica® must be both erotic and romantic.

>> The sexual relationship must be integral to and an important element of the storyline and the character development. Sex scenes should contribute to furthering the plot or affecting the development of the romantic relationship or the growth of the characters.

>> The story must include abundant and explicit sex and sexual tension, starting early and continuing throughout. Sex scenes must be described in graphic detail and explicit wording, not delicate euphemisms or purple prose.

>> The story must meet the definition of a romance novel: the primary focus must be on the development of a romantic relationship, and there must be an emotionally satisfying committed ending for the main characters.

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We also publish EXOTIKA™, our line of quality erotica for women. These stories focus on a woman’s sexual journey or adventures. Although they may contain a romance, they do not have to include that as the primary focus, the relationship does not need to be monogamous or end with commitment.

<< End Quote >>

I have placed in BOLD the points that I felt were most important, now let’s take these point by point:

POINT 1 - any work of literature that is both romantic and sexually explicit in nature.

OK Here we are at the heart of the matter (sorry, that actually WASN’T intended as a pun).

Women want ROMANCE along with the sex… and in many ways, the ROMANCE is more important.

POINT 2 - the main protagonists develop "in love" feelings for one another that culminate in a monogamous relationship.

Again, this is VERY different from Mens Erotica. Note the phrase - monogamous . Even in a menage/multi partner storyline, the partners (all of them) must end up wholly committed to that relationship.

POINT 3 - The premise of Romantica™ is that women's sexual experiences are legitimate, positive, and beautiful. Ellora's Cave Romantica® must be both erotic and romantic.

Got it?

POINT 4 - The sexual relationship must be integral to and an important element of the storyline and the character development

This is a key point. While readers expect a lot of sex, it does need to tie into the plot and the developing relationship between the Hero and Heroine.

POINT 5 - The story must include abundant and explicit sex and sexual tension, starting early and continuing throughout. Sex scenes must be described in graphic detail and explicit wording, not delicate euphemisms or purple prose.

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NOTE - The key words here have been italicised *explicit wording*. The language of all WE, whether it is WRE or WENR is VERY different from the language of ME. Any use of ME wording and you WILL lose your readers.

One of the poorly written WE attempts I read was simply ME written in the first person with the female protagonist speaking. The language was ENTIRELY wrong and the only reason I read it was in order to give the author a critique and Skype session.

The worst example of inappropriate language, and just one of many, was the phrase *7” of meat across her face*

This is such a buzz kill for any woman, reading either WRE or WENR, that I am almost at a loss for words… BLEECH!

I will be discussing appropriate language further on in this report, but understand right now, the language and vocabulary used in WE is totally different from that of ME!

POINT 6 - The story must meet the definition of a romance novel:

the primary focus must be on the development of a romantic relationship, and there must be an emotionally satisfying committed ending for the main characters.

In this day and age, marriage is not necessarily the expected outcome, but a long term, committed, loving, and respectful relationship IS!

POINT 7 - We also publish EXOTIKA™, our line of quality erotica for women. These stories focus on a woman’s sexual journey or adventures. Although they may contain a romance, they do not have to include that as the primary focus, the relationship does not need to be monogamous or end with commitment.

While ROMANCE is not a component in this category of erotica, there are still more similarities to Romantic Erotica than there are differences…

Please, if you take away nothing else from this report, women are turned on by very different situations and language than men are.

If you want to become successful, you MUST familiarize yourself with these differences, and provide women with what THEY want, not what men are looking for!

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WHAT WOMEN ARE LOOKING FOR

Women are looking for escape! They are looking for romance, great sex, thoughtful gestures, and hunky heroes.

They are NOT looking for disrespect or insensitive comments or neglectful men.

In both WRE and WENR, there is an underlying respect, appreciation and even reverence going in both directions.

If you can’t provide this or you are unsympathetic to readers who want this, then WE is not going to be a good niche for you. It doesn’t mean that you need to give up the idea of being a successful erotica writer or publisher, it just means that Men’s Erotica is probably your market.

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WE GUIDELINES FROM SUCCESSFUL PUBLISHERS

One of the best things about entering the world of WE is that there are a number of successful publishing companies online that have been producing and selling WE online for many years.

They generally have an ongoing cadre of writers and they are often looking for new writers. As a result they have their Submission Guidelines available for anyone to read.

These Submission guidelines tell you what the publishers are looking for in exquisite detail thus telling you exactly what readers want!

They provide information about length of work no more wondering about how long a short story needs to be, and they also explain in detail their levels of titillation or degree of Hotness, telling you what readers are expecting at each level of HOT! LOL

As we all know, analyzing a successful business model, and then reproducing it can be one of the best ways to start a new venture. In this case, the successful WE Indie Publishers provide an extremely valuable template to follow.

Their Submission Guidelines, pricing, publishing schedule, cover art, product descriptions, and more, all provide the savvy writer/marketer with incredible information.

I am guessing that most of you will not be interested in writing for these publishers, but much of this industrial espionage can be directly applied to Amazon publishing.

If you ARE a writer who really wants to become a successful WE writer, I suggest that you DO submit some titles to some of the bigger Indie Publishers. Build street cred with the Indies and then publish independently on Amazon and possibly All Romance eBooks or with other WE retailers.

Here are excerpts for the Submission Guidelines for five of the top WE publishers, along with links for the complete Guidelines. Note, there are other strong publishing houses and

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it may be worth taking the time to research their Author Submission guidelines as well.

I strongly suggest that you take the time to read each of the Submission Guidelines in their entirety.

The best way to truly understand the publishers’ Guidelines and discover what readers expect is to take the time to read works from each publisher and each genre.

It is also important that you understand that each Publisher is known for a unique writing style and story type. Quite often, what one publisher will sell well may not meet the requirements and standards for another publisher.

Ellora’s Cave

>> EXCERPT <<

Ellora’s Cave is THE place for erotic romance, with more than 450 authors around the world. We are a leader in the field. The growth in ebook sales and new ebook vendors continues to boost our sales and we are always looking for talented authors.

Romantica® - Erotic Romance

Ellora’s Cave Romantica® must be both erotic and romantic.

The sexual relationship must be integral to and an important element of the storyline and the character development. Sex scenes should contribute to furthering the plot or affecting the development of the romantic relationship or the growth of the characters.

The story must include abundant and explicit sex and sexual tension, starting early and continuing throughout. Sex scenes must be described in graphic detail and explicit wording, not delicate euphemisms or purple prose.

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The story must meet the definition of a romance novel: the primary focus must be on the development of a romantic relationship (the core romance drives the narrative), and there must be an emotionally satisfying committed ending for the main characters.

Exotika™ - Erotica

Exotika™ is our line of quality erotica for women. These stories focus on a woman’s sexual journey or adventures. Although they may contain a romance, they do not have that as the primary focus; the relationship does not need to be monogamous or end with commitment.

This must be a “story” with well-developed characters and plot; definitely no porn. Our readers want quality erotica, not graphic violence, sexual torture or psychos.

Blush ~ Mainstream Romance

Blush is our line of non-erotic romances, of any subgenre. (Formerly known as Cerridwen Press.)

Sensuality level can be anything from sweet (kisses only) to sensual-but- not-quite-erotic. We do not publish inspirational/religious romances or category-style romances. (No secret baby, Big Misunderstanding, amnesiac in the storm, ex-SEAL-turned-sheriff, billionaire’s secretary/mistress, or TSTL - Too Stupid to Live -- heroines.)

Story length is 7,000 to 125,000 words.

Cotillion Traditional Regency Romance

Cotillion is our line of sweet Traditional Regency romances. Story length is 7,000 to 75,000 words.

EC For Men

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Stories written specifically for our male readers. Although many women enjoy them too! The stories are shorter, focus more on the sex than the “relationship”, are aimed at male sexual fantasies. More of what men want or need from womensex, love, acceptance, admiration, dirty talk; less of what they don't need (judgment, drama, expectation of anticipating woman's needs).

>> END EXCERPT <<

Points to Ponder regarding Ellora’s Cave Submission Guidelines

EC was one of the first of the indie publishers online. Jaid Black, the founder, writes a LOT of Womens Romantic erotica, much of it Futuristic. Because her writing style is so graphic, EC books tend to push the boundaries.

While EC does publish some very lurid titles, it is important to note how adamant EC is about needing that Romantic Story arc for WRE.

Obviously, the Romantic aspect is not required for WENR but as stated: This must be a “story” with well-developed characters and plot; definitely no porn. Our readers want quality erotica, not graphic violence, sexual torture or psychos.

Samhain Romance

>> EXCERPT <<

Samhain is now open to general submissions of all genres of romance and erotica, as well as fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction with strong romantic elements. Authors can be previously unpublished or established, agented or un-agented. We will consider previously published manuscripts on a case by case basis.

We are looking for romances of all types and styles, and all levels of heat. Let your imagination run free.

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For science fiction, fantasy, and urban fantasy submissions, we would like strong romantic themes throughout, and while a traditional happy ending is not required, we would like some progression in the romantic arc as well as a satisfying ending for fans of romance.

Our Criteria:

Between 12,000 and 120,000 words. For print eligibility, minimum 50,000 words.

Simultaneous submissions accepted, but keep us posted on the current status.

No pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, rape as titillation, etc.

Please visit the Samhain FAQ page for answers to most of your submissions questions.

Please visit the Special Calls page to see any special calls from our editors.

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Points to Ponder regarding Samhain Submission Guidelines

Samhain is looking for strong romantic themes throughout all of their themes and genres. They do publish a broad range of themes and sub genres. They are also taking a number of their novel length titles into PRINT. This is a STRONG indication of the success of this Market! LOL

Extasy Books

Here are excerpts from the Extasy Books information page. You would benefit from reading the entire page yourself.

>> EXCERPTS <<

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1.

Q.I have read the submission guidelines, I am still not certain what sort of books you are seeking. Can you name any authors I can read to get inspiration?

2. A.If you aren’t familiar enough with any of the genres or sub-genres listed, then the chances are that you don’t know enough about these concepts to write a book that eXtasy or Devine Destinies would accept. We aren’t asking for ‘run-of-the-mill’ stories with ‘window-dressing’.

3. If you aren’t certain about a story idea you, then you can email us with an outline and we can advise whether it’s something you can pursue with us (without intention to buy sight unseen, of course!), or if we wouldn’t be interested.

4. We do not want formula, be it romance or otherwise.

5. We accept submissions in all the sub-genres: romance, sensual romance, YA, BDSM, G/L/B, interracial, African/American, Alternate Lifestyles, Science Fiction, Gay/Lesbian, and any and all combinations thereof. We embrace the unusual and original, and are interested in all heat levels. If it's outside the box, feel free to send it.

6. We look for solid plots, well-developed settings and characters that are fully three-dimensional. We want originality and professional-level storytelling. History should be well-researched and totally fictional worlds in fantasy and science fiction must be visualized clearly. Get your facts straight.

7. What we don't want are erotic stories that are essentially a thin plot stringing sex scenes together or characters whose motivations and personalities are shallow and stereotypical. While the purpose of all erotica is to arouse the reader, eXtasy books provide excellent entertainment for the reader as well. In other words, the sexuality is an asset to the book, not the other way around. Sensuality is vital--we expect your characters to use all five of their senses. There not only has to be a reason for the sex…we want to know how they feel about it as well. And there's no need to keep a tally in your head; the amount of sex should be appropriate to the story.

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We don't require so many scenes per story. We'd rather a lot of tension and one big scene than sex for sex's sake.

8. We also aren't interested in works that are little more than new versions of old stories. A novella in the spirit of The Story of O is one thing; a novella that's little more than a thinly disguised rewrite is another, and won't make it past the first read. Creativity is not only desired, but required.

9. Extensive use of vocabulary is a must, and reliance on standard romance clichés is discouraged. You needn't use raw Anglo-Saxon to describe the sexual organs but substitutions should evoke a sexual frisson, not a giggle. Graphic descriptions of genitalia should also be avoided. Remember, the most important sexual organ is the brain, so keep the focus on characters' feelings, thoughts and sensations. Make the language appropriate to the setting. Show, don't tell.

10.Keep the sex original and different. Nothing loses a reader's interest faster than having characters do the same thing over and over with only minor variations. Nor, contrary to popular belief, need all sex scenes end in a climax. Interruptions can lead to anticipation, and in the case of erotica, waiting can be half the fun. Sexual tension is perfectly acceptable.

11.We do NOT accept works that include:

12.Sexual abuse of minors under the age of 18 in any form, including being exposed to sexual acts. This includes consensual acts by anyone under 18. This includes incest.

13.Bestiality.

14.Non-consensual sex or BDSM that results in actual physical damage.

15.Necrophilia

16.Golden Showers or any act containing the use of feces.

17.We will also reject works where individuals are subjected to strangulation or suffocation as part of the sex act, whether self-inflicted or otherwise. 18.Other than that, anything goes.

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Points to Ponder regarding Extasy Submission Guidelines

Extasy carefully lays out what they are looking for and what is acceptable along with clear instructions about what they DO NOT want. These guidelines are a good place to check, if you are worried about crossing the line.

Resplendence Publishing

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ROMANCE GUIDELINES

Historical: We classify historical romance as any romantic story set before WWII, but we are specifically looking for stories set outside the Regency period. If you have a great Regency story, we want to read it. But we would prefer to feature books set in time periods not so commonly used of late.

Paranormal: Stories featuring vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc. Essentially, things that go bump in the night and make us want to check under our bed before going to sleep.

Contemporary: Contemporary stories should reflect and be relevant to the lives of today’s romance readers. These stories can be steamy or sweet, heartwarming or hysterical, as long as they are set in contemporary times and follow the usual genre guidelines.

Romantic Suspense: We seek dark, gritty stories of murder, mayhem, and unrelenting suspense. We want to be furiously turning the pages, unable to stop until we reach the end.

Erotic Romance: Red-hot stories of erotic adventure featuring romantic elements of love and/or commitment. All settings and situations will be considered with the usual exceptions. Since the “no-no’s” of erotic romance have been laid out many, many, times, we will advise you to use your better judgment. If your story has a major “ick” factor such as pedophilia, or any of the other traditional taboos, it’s not for us.

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Acceptable lengths:

Glimmer (short): 12-18,000 words Gleam (novella): 19-30,000 words Sparkle (category): 31-60,000 words Dazzle (novel): 61-90,000 words

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Points to Ponder regarding Resplendence Publishing Submission Guidelines

Here is a good resource for how long given types of stories/books should be. Their lists of themes and genres may be a good source for story ideas.

Loose ID Publishing

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About Our Books

Loose Id takes romance to the edge: the edge of the genre, the edge of convention, the edge of the abyss. And then we throw it right on in. A Loose Id romance is deliberately, specifically, and insistently erotic. It ought to make you blush and squirm in your seat, while keeping you turning pages because you have to find out what happens next.

We're looking for stories that unleash the power of fantasy and the id. New twists on old favorites, both erotic and romantic. Whether it's that hotass cop and the speeder he pulled over, a threesome with your two best gay friends, anonymous sex with the guy you saw pumping gas, capture fantasy, sex slavery, cowboy and city slicker, secret babies, secretary and sheikh, we want stories that tap specific reader fantasies and make them as erotic as the plotline will support.

Your story should have a clear romance hook, even though we encourage plots that have a broader external conflict. Readers love sprawling stories, but they want to know from the outset who is going to fall in love, what's going to get in their way, and why it's important that they resolve it.

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Remember, the idea is to indulge the id by fulfilling familiar reader fantasies in a new and unique way, so those fantasies need to be recognizable and powerful.

Accepted Genres

Contemporary Historical Paranormal Science Fiction & Fantasy Mystery & Suspense Gay, Lesbian & Transgendered Menage & Polyamory BDSM & Fetish

About the contemporaries and historicals

Because we're sharpening our focus on reader fantasy, we're reopening submissions to contemporaries and historicals that are sufficiently erotic to meet our desire to have readers squirming in their seats. No inspirationals, no sweet romances, no category romance. But, feel free to take those standard romance tropes and plotlines and make them as erotic as the story will support. We'd prefer historicals and contemporaries to include multicultural elements, interracial elements, full-figured heroines, menage, bdsm, alternate lifestyle, lgbt themes or polyamory, but we will happily look at your hot heterosexual Alpha heroes in single-partner relationships, so long as they're hunky and HOT.

About paranormal, sff, mystery & suspense

While we encourage broad, inventive plots, please remember that we publish erotic ROMANCE. No cozy mysteries, no urban fantasy with sex for titillation, no sprawling space epics with the occasional love story. We expect every story to have a fully realized romance with conflict and resolution, even if you're not taking them all the way to happily ever after. Stories with a large external conflict must have a romance hook - one that is specifically erotic. As with contemporaries and historicals, we'd prefer

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these to include multicultural elements, interracial elements, full-figured heroines, menage, bdsm, alternate lifestyle, lgbt themes or polyamory,but we're perfectly happy to look at your sky pirates and outlaw heroes who find the girl of their dreams, so long as the story makes us squirm.

About LGBT, menage & poly, bdsm & fetish

Everything we've said about romances, hooks, and fantasies still applies when dealing with LGBT, menage & poly, bdsm & fetish themes. While some of our books in these categories cater specifically to the relevant community, we still expect them to be accessible to and enjoyable for the bulk of our female readers. Romance is the key. At Loose Id, we believe love is love is love is love. The heart wants who it wants and the id wants what it wants. Tell us a story about someone or someones getting their heart and id's desire. It's not enough that it's two guys, two girls, a drag queen and a pre-op transexual, three or more lovers, or there are whips, chains, clamps, pony play. Turn it inside out and show us the hearts that make it work. Show us the rainbow and make us believe - and squirm, don't forget the squirming.

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Points to Ponder regarding Loose ID Submission Guidelines

Loose ID goes into great detail about what they are looking for in submitted work. In terms of research, I consider their emphasis on LOVE, no matter the players involved to be significant, whether you want to write for them or not:

It's not enough that it's two guys, two girls, a drag queen and a pre-op transexual, three or more lovers, or there are whips, chains, clamps, pony play. Turn it inside out and show us the hearts that make it work. Show us the rainbow and make us believe - and squirm, don't forget the squirming.

Siren Publishing

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>> EXCERPT <<

We publish only romance with a happily ever after.

Note: We publish only books that fit into one of the imprints specified below.

Please check the imprint you are interested in prior to each submission.

Our guidelines may change without notice to adapt to the current market and reader expectations.

IMPRINTS

(1) SIREN CLASSIC

M/F or M/M romance.

H/h are sexually involved only with each other during the course of the story.

H/h cannot commit adultery while married to each other or to someone else.

No dubious consent, forced seduction, or rape allowed.

H/h cannot be a "career" criminal, prostitute/hooker, or porn star.

H/h must be noble and honest characters.

The romance must focus on these two and no other.

H/h must have a happily ever after with each other.

H/h cannot be killed off in another book.

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H/h must be at least 18 years old during the course of the story, with NO emphasis on how young they are for the purposes of titillation.

We prefer third-person (he/she) but may consider first-person (I).

We may allow head hopping if author knows how to do it right.

(2) SIREN ALLURE

M/F, M/M, or F/F romance.

H/h may be involved sexually with secondary characters.

Sex scenes are not menage or consensual sharing arrangement.

May contain adultery.

May contain dubious consent or forced seduction if there is consent just before intercourse and no thinking or crying rape afterward.

Both H/h must have at least a happy for now with each other.

H/h cannot be killed off in another book.

H/h must be at least 18 years old during the course of the story, with NO emphasis on how young they are for the purposes of titillation.

We prefer third-person (he/she) but may consider first-person (I).

We may allow head hopping if author knows how to do it right.

(3) SIREN POLYAMOUR

One woman with two or more men F/M/M+ or one beta male with two or more males M/M/M+ in a consensually sharing relationship.

H/h cannot have sexual liaisons with secondary characters outside the mutual polyamorous relationship.

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Heroine cannot be in a previous polyamorous relationship with anyone else before the heroes.

Sex scenes are generally "taking turns" with no menage sex scenes (no double or triple penetration).

No adultery (no cheating on a spouse).

No dubious consent, forced seduction, or rape allowed.

H/h cannot be a "career" criminal, prostitute/hooker, or porn star.

All characters in the polyamorous relationship, at a basic level, are noble and honest (yes, we have to fall in love with them all).

The romance is focused on the heroine and each man in this relationship.

Must have a happily ever after for the heroine with at least two men.

If heroine ends up with one man, it's considered a Siren Allure and is not a Siren PolyAmour.

The heroine and the men in the "permanent" polyromance cannot be killed off in another book.

All characters involved in any polyamorous sex scenes must be at least 21 years old even if it's a historical.

Manuscript must be written in the third-person (no first-person writing).

Each character in the permanent polyromance must have at least one scene in their point of view.

No head hopping allowed in the PolyAmour imprint. We will request rewriting to remove head hopping.

Note: When any or all of the heroes are blood-related siblings, we do not consider it to be incest or pseudo-incest if there is NO physical attraction, no sexual relationship, and no touching each other for titillation between or

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among the siblings at any time during the course of the story. When in doubt, leave it out.

(4) SIREN MENAGE AMOUR

One woman with two or more men M/M/F or M/F/M+ or one beta male with two or more males M/M/M+.

Consensual menage relationship.

No sexual liaisons with secondary characters outside the menage relationship.

Heroine cannot be in a previous menage relationship with anyone else before the heroes.

If it involves the heroine, must contain at least one menage sex scene with either double penetration (vaginal and anal) or triple penetration (oral, vaginal, and anal).

If it is an M/M/M, must contain at least one menage sex scene with double penetration (oral and anal).

No adultery (no cheating on a spouse).

No dubious consent, forced seduction, or rape allowed.

H/h cannot be a "career" criminal, prostitute/hooker, or porn star.

All characters in this menage relationship, at a basic level, are noble and honest (yes, we have to fall in love with them all).

The romance is focused on the heroine (or the beta male) and each of the man in the relationship.

Must be a permanent menage with a happily ever after for all the characters together. If the heroine or the beta male has sex with any man during the book, it's considered permanent.

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Characters in this permanent menage cannot leave the heroine or the beta male and take another mate in another book.

Characters in this permanent menage cannot be killed off in another book.

If heroine or beta male ends up with one man, it's considered a Menage & More and is not a Menage Amour.

All characters involved in any menage sex scenes must be at least 21 years old even if it's a historical.

Manuscript must be written in the third-person (no first-person writing).

Each character in the menage relationship must have at least one scene in their point of view.

No head hopping allowed in the Menage Amour imprint. We will request rewriting to remove head hopping.

Note: When any or all of the heroes are blood-related siblings, we do not consider it to be incest or pseudo-incest if there is NO physical attraction, no sexual relationship, and no touching each other for titillation between or among the siblings at any time during the course of the story. When in doubt, leave it out.

(5) SIREN MENAGE & MORE

One woman with two or more men F/M/M+, or one beta male with two or more alpha males M/M/M+, or two women with one or more men F/F/M+, or three women F/F/F.

Consensual menage relationship.

Some of the relationships are temporary flings.

Heroine may be involved in previous menage or polyamorous relationships with others who were not the heroes.

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If it involves the heroine, must contain at least one menage sex scene with either double penetration (vaginal and anal) or triple penetration (oral, vaginal, and anal).

If it is an M/M/M, must contain at least one menage sex scene with double penetration (oral and anal).

May contain adultery.

May contain dubious consent or forced seduction if there is consent just before intercourse and no thinking or crying rape afterward.

At a minimum, must have a happily ever after for at least the heroine and the lead hero (or the beta male and the alpha male in an M/M+).

Except for the heroine and the lead hero (or the beta male and the alpha male in an M/M+), other characters in the "temporary" menage may take another mate or may be killed off in another book.

All characters involved in any menage sex scenes must be at least 21 years old even if it's a historical.

We prefer manuscript written in the third-person but may consider first- person if done properly.

We may allow head hopping if author knows how to do it right.

Note: When any or all of the heroes are blood-related siblings, we do not consider it to be incest or pseudo-incest if there is NO physical attraction, no sexual relationship, and no touching each other for titillation between or among the siblings at any time during the course of the story. When in doubt, leave it out.

(6) SIREN LOVEXTREME Forever Series

One woman with five or more men F/M/M/M/M/M+ (cannot have a second woman) or one beta male with five or more men M/M/M/M/M/M+.

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Consensual menage relationship.

No sexual liaisons with secondary characters outside the menage relationship.

Heroine cannot be in a previous menage or polyamorous relationship with anyone else before the heroes.

If it involves the heroine, must contain at least one menage sex scene with either double penetration (vaginal and anal) or triple penetration (oral, vaginal, and anal).

If it is an M/M/M/M/M/M, must contain at least one menage sex scene with double penetration (at the same time) or triple penetration (there are six of them, so there should be plenty going on in a LoveXtreme).

No adultery (no cheating on a spouse).

No dubious consent, forced seduction, or rape allowed.

H/h cannot be a "career" criminal, prostitute/hooker, or porn star.

Story cannot be too big for the word count. Must develop the story line properly and not rush through it.

There are at least six characters here. You must flesh out your heroine or your beta male and each hero in the relationship so that each one is distinct from the others. There's no rushing through this.

In a continuing series, you must explore the relationship between the heroine or beta male and each man.

All characters in this menage relationship, at a basic level, must be noble and honest (yes, we have to fall in love with every single one of these men).

The romance is focused on the heroine (or the beta male in an M/M+) and each of the man.

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Must be a permanent menage with a happily ever after for all the characters together. If the heroine or the beta male has sex with any man during the book, it's considered permanent.

Characters in this permanent menage cannot leave the heroine or the beta male and take another mate in another book.

Characters in this permanent menage cannot be killed off in another book.

All characters involved in any menage sex scenes must be at least 21 years old even if it's a historical.

Manuscript must be written in the third-person (no first-person writing).

Each character in the menage relationship must have at least one scene in their point of view.

No head hopping allowed in the LoveXtreme imprint. It will be impossible to stay focused reading a story that hops around six heads. We will request rewriting to remove head hopping.

Author must submit at least the first three manuscripts at the same time to be considered for the LoveXtreme Forever imprint.

Note: When any or all of the heroes are blood-related siblings, we do not consider it to be incest or pseudo-incest if there is NO physical attraction, no sexual relationship, and no touching each other for titillation between or among the siblings at any time during the course of the story. When in doubt, leave it out.

(7) SIREN LOVEXTREME Special Edition

Note: If author submits only a single manuscript, even if it meets all the requirements for LoveXtreme Forever, it will be assigned to LoveXtreme Special Edition.

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One woman with five or more men F/M/M/M/M/M+, or one beta male with five or more men M/M/M/M/M/M+, or two women with five or more men F/M/M/M/M/M/F (we will consider F/F/M/M/M/M/M+ where the women are involved with each other).

Consensual menage relationship.

Some of the relationships are temporary flings.

Heroine may be involved in previous menage or polyamorous relationships with others who were not the heroes.

If it involves the heroine, must contain at least one menage sex scene with either double penetration (vaginal and anal) or triple penetration (oral, vaginal, and anal).

If it is an M/M/M/M/M/M, must contain at least one menage sex scene with double penetration (at the same time) or triple penetration (there are six of them, so there should be plenty going on in a LoveXtreme).

May contain adultery or dubious consent/forced seduction (if there is consent just before intercourse).

The peripheral men do not have to be fully fleshed.

At a minimum, two of the main characters (either the heroine and the lead hero or the beta male and the alpha male) must be noble and honest.

At a minimum, must have a happy for now for at least four of the characters together to qualify for LoveXtreme (otherwise, it's a Menage & More).

One of the peripheral men may take another mate or may be killed off in another book.

All characters involved in any menage sex scenes must be at least 21 years old even if it's a historical.

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Manuscript must be written in the third-person (no first-person writing).

No head hopping allowed in the LoveXtreme imprint. It will be impossible to stay focused reading a story that hops around six heads. We will request rewriting to remove head hopping.

Note: When any or all of the heroes are blood-related siblings, we do not consider it to be incest or pseudo-incest if there is NO physical attraction, no sexual relationship, and no touching each other for titillation between or among the siblings at any time during the course of the story. When in doubt, leave it out.

(8) BOOKSTRAND MAINSTREAM ROMANCE

Traditional M/F romance with sex scenes only between the hero and the heroine.

H/h are sexually involved only with each other during the course of the story.

Hero and heroine cannot commit adultery while married to each other or to someone else.

Absolutely no dubious consent, forced seduction, or rape of the heroine by the hero or by any secondary character during the course of the story.

H/h cannot be a "career" criminal, prostitute/hooker, or porn star.

H/h must be noble and honest characters.

H/h must have a happily ever after with each other.

H/h cannot be killed off in another book.

H/h must be at least 18 years old during the course of the story, with NO emphasis on how young they are for the purposes of titillation.

We prefer third-person (he/she) but may consider first-person (I).

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We may allow head hopping if author knows how to do it right.

(9) SIREN EVERLASTING CLASSIC

Special series and collections meeting all SIREN CLASSIC requirements, written by a Siren-exclusive author.

(10) SIREN EVERLASTING POLYROMANCE

Special series and collections meeting all SIREN POLYAMOUR requirements, written by a Siren-exclusive author.

(11) SIREN MENAGE EVERLASTING

Special series and collections meeting all SIREN MENAGE AMOUR requirements, written by a Siren-exclusive author.

>> END EXCERPT <<

Points to Ponder regarding Siren Submission Guidelines

I have included Siren Guidelines because they are so comprehensive. If I were you, I would check every story against the Siren Guidelines for the genre. You just can’t go wrong! In fact, I would print these babies out so I had a reference handy!

WE GUIDELINES -- CONCLUSION

Each of these publishers has created a niche market and brand identity, affecting everything from the types of books they publish to the types of covers they use.

I realize that this loooong list of Writer’s Guideline from six different publishers may be overwhelming, but I felt that the information was important and needed to be included.

If you carefully read the submission requirements for each of these publishers, you will not only get a feel for that

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publishers focus, but you will also begin to see the scope of the market.

There are MANY other publishers out there, most of them smaller than the ones listed above.

If you want to do the research yourself, and I recommend that you do so, All Romance Ebooks is one of the largest online retailers of Romance and Women’s Erotica and thus, a good resource to find Online Publishers.

ARE is also a good place to check out your competition

There are a number of free offerings, but don’t be a cheapskate here. Purchase and read longer works novels so you can really see what the genre can be. It will help to fine tune your ear for the nuances that you will need to understand and produce if you are actually going to successfully enter this niche

Erotic Romance -

THEMES, GENRES, AND CATEGORIES

MEN’S FANTASIES VS WOMEN’S FANTASIES

There are many different Themes, Categories and Genres in Women’s Erotica, and they tie in to women’s fantasies, which are very different from Men’s fantasies.

Here are some personal thoughts from me, a heterosexual female reader of female erotica.

Needless to say, these thoughts are my own and I do use generalizations

As we all know, men and women are very different and what attracts them, what is romantic, and what is sexy, are usually going to be strikingly different

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We also need to realize that there may be differences between what heterosexual females and lesbians may be interested in. (Let me take a moment to say that a number of people who are near and dear to me are also members of the LGBT community and are of both genders)

While I have no statistics to back this up, I am assuming that the majority of Female Erotica readers are heterosexual females, reflecting the proportions of the general public.

I also hazard a guess that lesbian readers of female

erotica are likely going to have different interests than

heterosexual readers of female erotica.

Therefore, I think that it is important to realize that lesbian female erotica is probably going to end up being a subniche of the female erotica niche. While sales may be strong, it is important to realize that you may be targeting a smaller portion of female erotica readers

To offer some numbers here, on Ellora’s site, there are only TWO pages of F/F (girl on girl) but there are 25 pages of M/M (boy on Boy note that the M/M numbers are slightly skewed because the publishers include Menage titles even if they are M/F/M rather than M/M/F

NOTE - In M/M/F, there is love play between the men as well as with the woman. In M/F/M there is intimacy between the woman and both men -- often at the same time -- but there is no intimacy between the men.

My point here is -- while *boys* may like girl on girl, it seems that the number of *girls* looking for girl on girl is going to be a pretty small market within female erotica

I have pretty eclectic taste within female erotica. I read

paranormal, shifter, vampire, some historical, a very small amount of bondage, thriller, futuristic, and just about any other erotica category.

What I don't read is girl on girl. When I read Menage, it is always M/F/M rather than M/M/F.

I am not telling you NOT to publish Girl on Girl or Menage

with F/M/F, I am just saying that if you are male, you may unconsciously find it easier to relate to and thus more

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appealing (which is fine) but you also need to realize that there is a possibility that you are selling to a small microniche.

Another male fantasy which has an ENTIRELY different meaning for women is sex between an adult and a younger person. I read a story for one of my Erotica Consulting Clients that featured a 23 year old female high school teacher with the hots for one of the senior boys she was teaching and with the implications that he was inexperienced.

NO! This is a MALE fantasy!

There are several things that make this wrong for WE.

First off, the author violated the Amazon guidelines regarding underage sex, in that he had not clearly stated that the boy(s) involved were over 18. When I called him on this, he mentioned that he thought that because he had stated that they were seniors in high school, he was covered. I mentioned that I had been a 17 year old senior and my dad had been a 16 year old senior… Please be careful to follow the Amazon guidelines.

Second, any woman reading a story that concerns an inexperienced high school boy is likely to think that the female protagonist is *Raping my baby*! Note - this can be the reaction whether the female reader is an actual mother, or not!

Third, the more experienced the male partner is, the more likely it is that the woman involved will enjoy herself! Inexperienced men are not particularly intriguing for most female readers…

Note - there is a subniche of romance with Heroes who are virgins -- for whatever reason, but it is a small niche and generally the Heroes are adult males well out of high school.

If you do want Older Woman/Younger Man do yourself a favor and make the Hero at least 24 years old and well out of college. The characters, the readers, and you, the writer, will all have a LOT more fun!

So, with some examples of the differences between men’s fantasies and women’s fantasies out of the way, let’s explore themes, categories and genres.

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THEMES, CATEGORIES, AND GENRES… oh, my!

The vast majority of WE falls into the all encompassing description of Romance Erotica WRE. Yes, there is WE with NO romance - WENR, but the market is a teensy sub niche.

If you plan on reaching the largest audience possible, you WILL need to include Romance.

Sorry, that is just reality!

Under the broad umbrella of Romantic Erotica, there are dozens and dozens of niches, ranging from the sex acts involved, the types of characters involved, and even the historic time and locations. Then to further confuse the issue, often a single book or story will include multiple combinations of all of these.

While there is no industry consistent terminology, we are going to follow the terminology used by one of the first of the online womens erotica publishers, Ellora’s Cave, and the company that trademarked the terms Romantica(TM) (Erotic Romance) and Exotica(TM) (Erotic Fiction). NOTE - Because these two terms are Trademarked, no one else can use the terms…

To clarify here, the publisher is Ellora’s Cave. Their current website is their eCommerce site, JasmineJade.com http://www.jasminejade.com/

QUICK REVIEW OF ELLORA”S CAVE GUIDELINES

Remember that the Ellora’s Cave Author Guidelines state repeatedly that in WRE the romantic component is required.

Ellora’s Cave GENRES

At Ellora’s Cave/Jasmine Jade the current Genres are:

ROMANTICA® - Erotic Romance

Line Name - Aeon

Genre - Futuristic/SciFi

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Line Name - Branded

Genre - Marital Heat:

within Marriage

Steamy Sex

This line is for women of any age who would, or perhaps already do, enjoy EC Romantica®, but who may feel that enjoyment conflicts with their personal belief that sex should not occur before or outside of marriage.

NOTE: These are not religious stories; the character motivations or actions don’t focus on religion.(From the EC Author Information PDF)

Line Name - Breathless

Line Name - Fusion

Line Name - Gen-Edge

Genre - Romantic Suspense

Genre - Multicultural/ Interracial

Genre - For the Modern Young Woman:

Audience: 18- to 25-year-old modern women who enjoy reading sexually explicit erotic romance stories about heroines with whom they can identify.

Tone and Style: The books have a strong narrative voice.

Dialogue and narrative are very reflective of the target audience’s world. The language should be current and characters will have very casual speech patterns, often sarcastic.

Heroine: Must be in the 18-25 age range, with behavior and attitude to match. The heroine should reflect the lifestyles and values of today's modern young woman.

Hero: The hero doesn't have to fit into the same age range. He may indeed be of age similar to the heroine, part of her peer group. But we accept stories of young women involved with older men.

Character Traits: Heroines are more sexually aggressive and less worried about what people think of them. Sexual fluidity manifesting in various ways metrosexual men, bisexual heroes/heroines, acceptance of GLBT culture, lesbian flirtation is more common.

Younger characters tend to be politically aware, socially liberal, and accepting of differences. Their job is

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probably just a job, not a major commitment or the most important thing in their life. Career paths aren't part of their life plans yet. Self-employment and entrepreneurship may be their goals.

Technology is a big part of their livescell phones, laptops, everything online. (From the EC Author Information PDF)

Line Name - Lawless

Line Name - Legend

Genre Western (Contemporary or Historical)

Genre - Historical

NOTE: there are number of different Historical Time periods which are considered Themes. In historical time periods, the dress, language, and social mores should be accurate for the time. Do your research!

Line Name - Moderne

Line Name - Shivers

Genre - Contemporary

Genre - Erotic Horror

Line Name - Sophisticate Genre - Older Woman, Younger Man

NOTE - Younger man does not mean high school virgins! Do yourself a favor and make your Heroes experienced and over 24yrs/out of college

Line Name - Spectrum

Line Name - Taboo

Line Name - Twilight

Line Name - Voyager

Line Name - Xanadu

Line Name - EXOTIKA™

Genre - Gay/Lesbian

Genre - BDSM

Genre - Paranormal

Genre - Time Travel

Genre - Fantasy

Genre - Erotic Fiction

Exotika™ is our line of quality erotica for women. These stories focus on a woman’s sexual journey or adventures. Although they may contain a romance, they do not have that as the primary focus; the relationship does not need to be monogamous or end with commitment.

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This must be a “story” with well-developed characters and plot; definitely no porn. Our readers want quality erotica, not graphic violence, sexual torture or psychos.

Line Name - Kink

Line Name - EC for Men

Genre - Fetish

Genre - Mens’ Erotica

Stories written specifically for our male readers. Although many women enjoy them too! The stories are shorter, focus more on the sex than the “relationship”, are aimed at male sexual fantasies.

More of what men want or need from womensex, love, acceptance, admiration, dirty talk; less of what they don't need (judgment, drama, expectation of anticipating woman's needs).

Line Name - BLUSH™

Genre - Mainstream Romance

Blush™ is our line of non-erotic romances, of any subgenre. (Formerly known as Cerridwen Press.)

Sensuality level can be anything from sweet (kisses only) to sensual-but-not-quite-erotic. We do not publish inspirational/religious romances or category-style romances. (No secret baby, Big Misunderstanding, amnesiac in the storm, ex-SEAL-turned-sheriff, billionaire’s secretary/mistress, or TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) heroines.) Story length is 7,000 to 125,000 words.

Line Name - Cotillion

Genre Traditional Regency

Cotillion is our line of sweet Traditional Regency romances. Story length is 7,000 to 75,000 words.

Ellora’s Cave THEMES

At Ellora’s Cave/Jasmine Jade the current Themes are:

THEME - 19th Century

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This will primarily be Victorian. Mostly English, possibly American

THEME - 20th Century This is a relatively new historical period and not yet very popular Currently, EC (Ellora’s Cave) only has one page of titles. Popular settings are - Roaring Twenties, WWII, Fifties, and Vietnam War.

THEME - BDSM Elements (Light BDSM)

THEME - Christmas

THEME - Comedy

THEME - Female/Female Note - again, this is a small niche at EC, with only 2 pages and less than 32 titles

THEME - Holiday

THEME - Interracial Element This is another small niche. Take the time to do your homework. Check out multiple publishers and see what they are selling!

THEME - Medieval

THEME - Menage or more Menage falls into two main options, completely heterosexual - M/F/M there is no intimacy between the men involved, no matter how many men in the Menage and Menages with a homosexual relationship between the men M/M/F --along with a sexual relationship with the women. Note that there are few if any F/M/F. Remember, this is fiction and fantasy for women! LOL

THEME - Male/Male This is a VERY popular niche, with 25 pages of titles. However, with Menages - both M/F/M and M/M/F - included within the niche, those numbers may be a bit skewed. Do your research!

THEME - Paranormal Elements

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This Theme covers a lot of territory. Note that Shapeshifters, including but not limited to Werewolves, and Vampires each have their own Theme categories.

THEME - Regency Early 18th Century England

THEME - Rubenesque (Plus Sized Heroines) NOTE - NEVER refer to these Heroines using anything but flattering terms!

THEME - Shapeshifter With some publishers, Werewolves may be separated from Shapeshifters and placed in their own category, because this is currently a popular theme. At EC, werewolves are included within this Theme category

NOTE - With ALL Shapeshifter types, there is NO BEASTIALITY INVOLVED. Sex is between partners in the same form, either human or whatever single species the Shifters represent. There is NO CROSS SPECIES SEX!

THEME - Steampunk Relatively recent addition: Wikipedia - Steampunk is a sub- genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Steampunk involves a setting where steam power is still widely used usually Victorian era Britain or "Wild West"- era United States that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.

THEME - Urban Fantasy Wikipedia - Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

THEME - Valentine's Day

THEME - Vampire

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FINDING THE POPULAR THEMES AND GENRES

If you want to gauge popularity, just look at how many titles are available within a Theme or Genre. If you are a male writer, please don’t decide based on YOUR interests.

As I mentioned earlier, many men like the idea of F/F (female on female) while the number of men, especially heterosexual men, interested in M/M is likely much smaller.

For women, compare the number of pages of F/F titles where there are only TWO pages, to the M/M titles, where there are TWENTY-FIVE pages.

Even taking into account that the M/M theme also contains Menage titles (both M/F/M and M/M/ F) that is still a pretty big difference, doncha think!

A good way to explore the breadth of themes, categories, and genres within Women’s Erotica is to check out All Romance eBooks, a large online ebookshop.

All Romance eBooks sells almost all of the WE publishers, INCLUDING SELF PUBLISHED AUTHORS.

Another point to watch is the publishing frequency and how each publisher promotes upcoming titles. Most of the online WE publishers release new titles regularly, often once a week.

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A WOMAN’S POINT OF VIEW

One of the common bits of advice I have seen for writing women’s erotica is to *write from the woman’s point of view*.

Now, after some observation, it has become apparent to me that there is a great deal of confusion about what this means. It is really very simple…

Write what a woman wants to read.

It doesn’t necessarily mean writing a story in the first person and told by the woman involved.

In fact, in this genre, first person is extremely difficult to pull off. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one bestselling print author who has managed it, and she only did it in 2 novels, which comprised a series.

RESOURCE - the author is Linda Howard, the category is actually Romance/Thriller, not WE, although the sex is pretty steamy. The reason these books are so effective, is because the heroine is unique AND funny! The books are *To Die For* and *Drop Dead Gorgeous*

Among digital authors, Kristen Ashley handles first person well.

WHY AVOID FIRST PERSON?

One of the most important elements of a successful WRE is a strong Romantic relationship between the female protagonist and the male protagonist. Part of what conveys the romantic relationship is understanding what each of those two characters is thinking and feeling.

This is fairly easy to do using the third person. However, when using the first person, and having the heroine act as narrator, it is far more difficult to convey the thoughts and emotions of the hero.

Can it be done? Yes, it can, but the character of the heroine has to be especially interesting AND she has to share with the reader many details that she is observing of the hero’s actions while at the same time being oblivious to what they might mean.

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In other words, the reader understands what the hero is thinking and feeling but the heroine doesn’t.

This is an extremely difficult tightrope for a writer to walk.

My advice is to do yourself a favor and keep it simple and write in the third person.

CREATE WOMEN’S FANTASIES

Women read WRE and WENR as an escape. They don’t want to be bothered with reality. If you ask them, they are very aware that this is not real life.

It is extremely important to realize that men’s fantasies and women’s fantasies are very different.

In womens fantasies:

Men are attentive

Men are protective

Men are engaged in the relationship

The SEX is WONDERFUL

And, last but not least, there is a strong possibility for Happily Ever After (HEA)

AVOID WOMEN’S NIGHTMARES

The Ellora’s Cave Writer’s Guidelines provide a list of themes and situations to avoid:

Women’s Nightmares

>> EXCERPT <<

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NO pedophilia (and no children involved in sexual situations). Remember, if you are writing Older Women/Younger Man, your best bet is to have him 24 years or older

NO incest

NO rape as titillation. Rape may be used as part of the plot action, especially supporting character development, but MAY NOT be presented in a positive light or with the intent to stimulate erotic excitement or pleasure. The hero may not be a rapist.

NO bodily functions as sexual activity (for example, scat). We may allow “golden showers” only in our Kink, Exotika, and male/male stories.

NO necrophilia

NO guns, knives or other weapons stuffed in various parts of the female anatomy. It’s sad that this even has to be stated, but there it is.

NO bestiality. This rule refers to common animals indigenous to Earth; this does not apply to shapeshifting protagonists and sentient “otherworldly” humanoid animals in scifi or fantasy.

>> END EXCERPT <<

My suggestion regarding shapeshifters is to avoid cross species sex play. If both the protagonists shift, then let them have sex either as humans or in the shifted form. If only one protagonist shifts, then limit their sex play to human form.

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PLOTS AND CHARACTERS

When writing WRE and even when writing WENR, it is important to tell a story… most women are not interested in just a string of sexual encounters.

Whether you are writing a story with a romantic element(WRE) or not(WENR), having a well-crafted plot and interesting characters, will add depth and interest.

PLOTS

When writing any kind of WE, plot is ESSENTIAL.

Women need to know and like the characters, and root for them to overcome obstacles, as their relationship develops, rather than reading about two random people bumping uglies.

Do keep in mind that the traditional fiction formula of Protagonist VS Antagonist will NOT work in either WENR or WRE. Because of the fundamental nature of each Genre, there is no single Protagonist. There will always be a MINIMUM OF TWO.

In WENR, where a romantic relationship will not be a factor, the front story WHY the heroine is looking for a sexual encounter with no romance, takes the place of a standard plot.

Needless to say, giving plot advice is challenging. Your best bet is to look to the successful WE publishers and see what they say about plots. Also, note that different product lines will have different acceptable Plot themes.

NOTE: It is important to understand that Plot requirements will vary depending on the publisher, the product line, and the targeted market. Even if you are likely planning to self- publish, understanding these guidelines provide you with successful formulae to model.

As we saw earlier, Ellora’s Cave Romantica® must be both erotic and romantic and the sexual relationship must be “integral to and an important element of the storyline and the character development. Sex scenes should contribute to furthering the plot”

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In other words, for the Ellora’s Cave Romantica® you need a plot which drives the sexual encounters and includes a strong, fundamental romantic story arc.

In their Exotika™ line (their line of quality erotica for women) a story line/plot is still necessary, but the romance is not. They state specifically “This must be a “story” with well- developed characters and plot”.

Boy Falls for Girl

The framework for a romantic plot is a very simple 1,2,3 formula:

1) Boy falls for Girl

2) Boy woos or pursues or saves Girl (alone or in any combination)

3) Boy gets Girl

But… don’t let the simplicity fool you!

Everything within this simple formula is either character driven or situation driven or a combination of the two.

The obstacles whatever is keeping the boy and girl apart -- will be directly tied to the characters themselves and their situations.

Example 1: If the boy/hero is a cop, boy falls for girl who is being stalked, boy must catch stalker to win girl.

Example 2: Boy doctor falls for the daughter of a patient, boy must cure rare disease to win girl

If the Heroine is a librarian, she may be in trouble because of something she overheard in the library stacks.

If she is a nurse, possibly something happened in the hospital and cue dramatic music SHE KNOWS TOO MUCH!

The obstacles reasons that Boy Woos or Pursues or Saves Girl do not need to include a mystery.

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Societal biases or family biases may provide the obstacles.

A long, detailed novel may include a number of different obstacles.

In any event, the romance characters and situations prevail over everything. Another point to consider is that unlike other fiction there is no ONE Main Protagonist, there are always at least two - the hero and the heroine.

CHARACTERS

Characters appealing and sympathetic or evil and intriguing are one of the keys to a successful story. They are what can transform a less than original plot into acceptable fiction.

There are usually three kinds of characters in a story of any length:

Protagonists - Hero(s) and Heroine in any story with a romantic arc

Secondary Characters those characters who add to the story and are integral to the plot. Secondary Characters often appear for extended periods within the storyline)

Walk On Characters characters who appear only briefly and usually have little to contribute to the plot. Examples - a clerk in a shop, a bus driver, or even just someone walking down the street. Their interactions with either the Hero/Heroine or Secondary Characters can add depth and color to a story. Their actions CAN contribute to the plat such as a store clerk describing a robber to the cops but they generally appear only once or twice.

Your two most important characters are the Hero and Heroine. Let’s look at them a bit more carefully.

The HERO

He is HOT. He doesn’t need to be wealthy, or classically handsome, but he must be sexy. He is in good physical condition. He is built/well endowed, but there is NEVER any measuring involved. Do NOT use inches to describe his *package* (Note -

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cute words such as *package* are only used if they make sense within the writing style of the book.)

He can have an extensive sexual history, but you need to avoid any hint that he is having sex with anyone other than the Heroine during the course of the story.

If he has been a player previously, you need to make it clear throughout the course of the story that his relationship with the Heroine is totally different.

Think Springsteen’s song, *She’s the One… *

He doesn’t need to be a great conversationalist, but he does need to have a deep abiding respect for women. Even if he is a *Bad Boy*, he needs to respect women.

If you put in any *forced seduction* (and this can be very challenging from a writing stand point) you must do three things:

1) Redeem the Hero

2) Establish that the Heroine clearly wants the act to take place BEFORE penetration occurs. NOTE - No one wants to read about a rapist. Remember, rape is not a sexual act it is an act of violence.

3) Include a WARNING in your Product Description (More about the Reader Advisories later on…)

Important Note - In a ménage situation, all of the male partners should be represented as Heroes.

The HEROINE

She is attractive but not necessarily HOT. Often, she doesn’t consider herself attractive.

She is usually aware of her flaws and exaggerates them in her mind. One appealing writing trick is to have him appreciate physical features that she considers flaws. For example, she wears glasses and hates them (make the set up such that she cannot tolerate contact lenses, and thus is stuck wearing glasses), then have him consider her glasses cute and adorable.

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She should be smart and resourceful. Please, for everybody’s sake, avoid TSTL - Too Stupid to Live female protagonists. The idea is to create a Heroine that you readers will like. She doesn’t have to be just like them, but she does need to be likable.

She should be resourceful enough to give the Hero a run for his money, but don’t make her cruel or mean or unwilling to cut the Hero some slack.

Secondary Characters

Successful characterizations do not stop with your protagonists (Hero and Heroine). You should also create interesting and appealing Secondary Characters and Walk on characters.

A Secondary Character is a character who is active in the plot and interacts with the Hero and Heroine as well as other characters. He or she is generally in the story for an extended period of time. The more that character is seen within the plot, the more detail should be included, in an ongoing basis.

DO spend time planning and creating your secondary characters. While they are unlikely to be described in as much detail has your protagonists, they DO need to be well-rounded, interesting, and unique. In fact, quirky well developed secondary characters can overcome other weaknesses within a story.

Walk-On Characters

Walk-on characters are those that appear in only one or two scenes. The more detail and color you can add to make each one unique, the better. But, do realize that you are likely to be working within tight constraints and may only have a paragraph or two of description and a few lines of dialog to give a sense of the individual.

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LANGUAGE GUIDELINES

One of the biggest differences between WE and ME is the language involved. I also think that it may be one of the hardest differences, to understand and apply.

I suggest that you read a number of works in the genre you are interested in and get a sense of the language used.

I also suggest that you get a female reader, preferably an

WRE or WENR fan, to read your work and watch your language

usage.

Language has gotten much looser in the last 10 or 15 years, however there is one word that most women hate - the C word - cunt.

I respectfully suggest you refrain from using it until you

are much more comfortable with the whole of WRE and WENR. Personally, I would prefer never to see it, but I also recognize that it may have its place. I do suggest that you refrain from ever having the Hero use it to describe the Heroine, no matter

the provocation and certainly do NOT have him call her that to her face…

NEVER Measure

In WRE, no measurements are used when referring to either the Hero or the Heroine

Do NOT use inches to describe his *package* (Note - cute words such as package, are only used if they make sense within the writing style of the book.)

You can indicate size without getting graphic or detailed, simply by using the Heroine’s reactions:

EXAMPLE Her eyes widened. She gasped. He was huge! She scooted back, uncertain. Surely this would never work! His hand pumped and he seemed to grow before her widening eyes. She looked back up to see him smiling gently at her.

NO Bra Sizes, and please no disparaging remarks about ANY of her body parts!

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Women do NOT want to read descriptions such as *thick rear* or *undersized boobs*

Instead of *thick rear*, use language such as *beautiful ass* (Note that *ass* is OK)

Or *heart shaped ass*

Instead of *undersized boobs*, think *delicate breasts* or *apple shaped breasts*

The heroine is NEVER heavy or fat, she is *delightfully curvy*, a *soft, warm handful* or, even better, *just the way he liked his women*

The heroine is NEVER skinny, she *looked delicate and fragile, to his admiring eyes* or she is built *strong, long, and lean* rather than athletic.

However the heroine is described, she should always turn out to be *perfect* in his eyes, even if she is different from his previous women.

Depending on the targeted audience, Anglo-Saxon euphemisms those which are vulgar, earthy, and direct -- are quite acceptable, fuck being the example which comes to mind first.

Here are a number of words that can be used. Some of them I, personally am less than fond of, but, for the most part, I consider them acceptable

HERS

clit clitoris bundle of nerves slit pussy tunnel channel cleft sex mound crevice secret place treasure nipples

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tits

breasts

peaks

HIS

cock

balls

dick

shaft

sac

penis

stalk

column

sex

thickness

erection

Building Relationships with Your Readers

WE readers can be loyal and devoted, but for maximum success you need to build a relationship with them. There are a number of ways to do this, not the least of which is planning your writer’s persona.

One of the things that WE readers expect in their authors is an interest and passion in the stories that are told. While many authors do use pen names, their gender is generally known, or discovered along the line.

For this reason, I recommend that male authors either use gender neutral pen names or initials. I also suggest that male authors start planning on how they will handle things if they are outed as male.

An unfortunate side effect of writing about sexual topics is that you may be forming deeper relationships with your reader than in other genres… and to be found out lying to your readers, may be taken far more personally.

If you are discovered to be something other than how you have represented yourself, your audience may see you as a liar and a cheat. No one likes being made a fool!

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Will this be a problem for you? I don’t know but I respectfully suggest that you consider the possibility and plan accordingly.

Amazon author pages and biographies can be informative, but they can also be fun.

Here is an EXCELLENT example of an obviously fictional and tongue in cheek bio, complete with pseudo picture.

BOOK DESCRIPTIONS

Your Kindle Book Description should include several important elements

Length of Book

With fiction in general, and erotic fiction specifically, it can be hard to tell whether a work is a short story, novella, novel, or longer. Please, as a reader, make it easier for me to evaluate your story and decide on purchasing. Please tell me what format it is and how long it is.

Heat Rating

Another factor in erotic fiction, of any kind, is EXACTLY how erotic it is. One of the reasons I tend to purchase from indie publishers is because they tell me how hot a book is, something which is not dealt with on Amazon, currently.

Use one of the indie publisher’s Heat guidelines (or create your own) and then state it clearly in the Product Description.

Reader Advisories

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This is the third and final element that you should be including in your Erotica products descriptions. If you have elements that a reader may not appreciate, do yourself, and her, a favor and state it before she buys.

NOTE - This is one of those differences between selling Erotica to men vs selling erotica to women, that you need to be aware of…

Off the top of my head, I can count 3 of my closest friends who have been victims of rape and there are others who have been victims of domestic violence. I am confident that each of them would like a book purchase to clearly state whether that books contains elements which she may prefer NOT to read, due to her personal history. Needless to say, this is far less likely to be an issue if selling to a male audience.

In fact, a well written, amusing Readers Advisory can be an added sales tool. Samhain Publishing is well known for its amusing RAs.

Here are some other examples, some with links to the books in question.

>> EXAMPLES <<

Reader Advisory: Although all sex acts are 100-percent consensual, Willing Victim contains role-playing scenarios that may upset some readers who are sensitive about rape, even in a simulated capacity.

+++++++++++++++

This novel is a contemporary paranormal romance intended for ADULT readers 18 years of age or older. It contains explicit language and graphic sexual content.

+++++++++++++++

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: violence.

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+++++++++++++++

**For mature readers. Contains sexual situations and strong language**

>> END EXAMPLES <<

With few authors or publishers providing information like this on Amazon, this is an easy way to stand out from the crowd and to begin building a good reputation among readers.

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STARTING YOUR WE WRITING

Ok, by now you have waded through a LOT of pages of warnings and information. ;-) Now come the fun part!

Start by familiarizing yourself with the genre…

Read, read, read.

I suggest that you start by reading WRE, because it is a far larger and potentially more lucrative niche than WENR.

In your initial reading and writing, I also suggest that you stick with plain Vanilla WRE in other words, place it in contemporary times and keep the sexual action simple and basic. Certainly your descriptions and writing can be imaginative, but avoid challenging or difficult themes.

Stick with this while you work on mastering:

Language

Character Development

Plot

Romance

As you become more familiar with these elements, start reading other, different themes. Because you are comfortable with Vanilla WRE, you will be able to evaluate the limitations and freedoms of each genre.

When reading, I would suggest reading WE bestsellers in whichever category you are planning to write.

Don’t waste your time picking up Amazon bestsellers, because in Amazon, there are so many different factors for bestseller status.

Read bestsellers from lists that are less likely to have been gamed, such as ARe or any of the main, independent publishers found on Are. In most cases, these bestseller lists are based on units sold, not on reviews or votes or free giveaways.

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As you find a niche that you are comfortable in, start planning a series, with recurring characters and within your fictional world. WE readers LOVE continuing storylines.

If you do plan a series, be smart and take the time to create

a bible for your series. The bible where you lay out all of the

details, characters, and plots. Make it easy on yourself and create your bible before you get too far into writing. If you make mistakes, I can assure you that readers will notice.

I just read an 18 book series the hero’s height varies from book to book… definitely annoying!

Plan of Attack

I have had a number of male writers ask me how they should proceed. Here are my recommendations for building a long term business.

Right now, there is a lot of questionable material being created for the Amazon Kindle. There has already been one Amazon Erotica Purge and I expect to see more.

Because of this situation, it is important for an Author to build credibility. Fortunately there are several ways to accomplish this.

Take advantage of the publishing venues outside of Amazon. As

a reader, and because of the vast amount of poor writing being offered on Amazon, I look first to the indie publishers when looking for books and authors. After that, I check to see if Amazon has that story or any work by that author available on the Kindle.

With this in mind, I suggest that any author looking for long term credibility submit work to one of the major Indy publishers, such as Ellora’s Cave or Samhain Publishing. It is worth sacrificing a couple of pieces just to gain the credibility that these publishers can provide.

After you have been published by an indie publisher, begin putting your work up on Amazon.

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Once on Amazon, take the time to follow my suggested guidelines when writing your Product Descriptions. Be sure to include a Heat Rating, Reader Advisor, a well written synopsis and a good sized Excerpt.

Plan a series or more and take the time to create a series bible a comprehensive file(s) where you lay out all of the details, characters, and plots for the series, before you get to far into writing.

Consider writing a shorter work, short story or novella, to build reader interest in your series.

Look for ways to build a relationship with your readers. Create a web site, have a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.

Use Pinterest to promote other authors and their books with your chosen genre. NEVER bad mouth the competition!

Watch the Kindle Forums and GoodRead Forums to keep on top of what your prospective readers are saying and thinking. Remember, you are in this for the long run!

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RESOURCES

FORUMS

There are a number of different Kindle Forums, that I strongly suggest your follow.

DO NOT promote your books on them, it is not allowed. I would suggest reading and NOT Participating.

Kindle Erotica Forum:

Kindle Erotic Romance Forum:

Kindle Paranormal Romance Forum:

Kindle Fantasy Forum:

Kindle Interracial Romance Forum:

Kindle THREADS

Here are some valuable threads:

Other Erotic Romance Forums

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Abbreviations used when discussing Women’s Erotica

Book Categories

C - contemporary [usually referring to romance]

RS - romantic suspense

UF - urban fantasy

PNR - paranormal romance

YA - young adult [sometimes a romance, sometimes not]

Other Abbreviations

BBW - Big Beautiful Woman

BDSM - Bondage, Domination, Sado-Masochism

BOB - Battery Operated Boyfriend

D/s - Dom and submissive

HEA - Happily ever after

MFM Both men love the woman but there is NO homosexuality

MMF - men in homosexual relationship (the degree can vary) and the woman gets added to an already existing situation, usually I LOVE MFM and avoid MMF unless it has been written by one of my favorite authors and the MM interaction is fairly minimal.

Obviously, it is a matter of taste ;)

Nuances, nuances. And WHY research is important :D

H/h - Also in on the Kindle forums when they are discussing plot the H means Hero and the h means heroine

EXAMPLE - I don’t like reading about the H interacting with any other woman BUT the h

MOC - Marriage of Convenience

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MS Manuscript

TSTL - Too Stupid to Live

WIP - Work in Progress

Suggested Reading

While this is one of the most obvious sections for this report, oddly, it has been the one I struggled with the most! ;-)

The kind people who read this report during its evolution would ask me for examples… and I would dither. Arrrghhhh!

Finally, I sat myself down and analyzed what the problem was, and it turned out to be pretty simple.

There is no perfect single book that defines any of these themes and genres…

Every time I would think of a book, I would have a list of the reasons why it was a good example, and then always, there would be one or two important issues that made it a poor example.

In Romance, especially WRE, there are rules…

Can they be broken? Yes, but the writer needs to understand WHY the rule existed in the first place and thus understand how to circumvent it, without drawing the wrath of the reader.

EXAMPLE: I just read a mystery, by a long published award winning writer. I had read all of the novels in her first series (about 21, in fact) and was starting the first novel in a second series.

A short way into the book, it develops that the protagonist

had had an affair with another character after which his child

was killed in a car accident and his wife was left in a coma with no chance of recovery.

Ick.

I stopped reading!

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Then, after mulling things over for a few days and based on the 21 other books by the same author that I had loved, I decided to give her another chance.

Amazingly enough, not only did she manage to write her way of the hole she had dug, she was also able to make all of the characters involved sympathetic. There is a reason she has won major awards and is a NY Times Best Selling Author.

So back to the original question, what examples can I recommend…

What I have decided to do is to recommend authors who have written multiple books that I feel are good. I will try to give a brief explanation of the good and the bad.

Writing in Series

Note that many of these authors are writing series, and sometimes multiple series. There are a number of reasons to write in series -

Once you have created the world and the characters within it, much of the hard work is done. So, to maintain writing efficiency, recycle. Set multiple books in the same universe, circulate among the different characters you have already created.

These readers LOVE to read multiple books in a series, so you have an excellent chance at selling multiple titles to your readers.

Lora Leigh

Lora has numerous series available in several different genres. She has made the difficult transition from digital to print quite successfully. Interestingly, she has written for Ellora’s Cave, Cerriswen Press, and Samhain Publishing in digital format.

In Print, she is currently writing for:

Berkley --The Breeds series, the Nauti Boys series, St Martin’s Press — The SEALs series, The ELite Ops Series, The Bound Hearts series,

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She is writing mainly WRE. Bound Hearts - This is a series about a group of men who push the limits sexually with the women they love and who show them the ultimate pleasure of inviting a third into their bed.

This series started as digital only and now has moved into print. NOTE - In my local book store, they are shelved with the erotica.

An excellent Amazon review describes this series this way:

<<QUOTE>>

While these stories are very graphic and frank in nature, within each one is a strong emotional connection; the characters love each other and are committed to their own kind of relationship. These are not conventional love stories, but rather stories of people willing to lose their inhibitions with each other and push the boundaries of their relationships to new levels. Never once did I feel that the heroines were ever forced to accept any type of humiliation or participate in anything against their will. Any acts of domination tended to excite and enhance the women's pleasure rather than harm or traumatize. The Bound Hearts series may not be for everyone, but it does appeal to a large audience of women who are eager to explore that side of themselves.

<<END QUOTE>>

NOTE - With BDSM, the sex should be SAFE, SANE, and CONSENSUAL

Nauti Boys - This series has an ongoing mystery through out the series. Sex is hot and M/F, even though the first three books involve hot heroes with a history of M/F/M I recommend reading the first three, in order: Nauti Boy (1),Nauti Nights (2), and Nauti Dreams (3)

The Breeds - This is Lora’s answer to werewolves and other shapeshifters. In her universe, they don’t actually change shape, but they do carry animal DNA with resulting physical anomalies.

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These also started as digital under one publisher and are now Print under a different publisher. The last couple have started getting a bit same old, same old. The SEALs Series and the Elite Ops Series These are print, with an emphasis on Hot warriors… The Hot warriors has been a subniche since before SEALs started getting so much press.

Maya Banks

She writes great Menage books

The Colters’ Series - is a Menage series. Colters’ Woman was the first and is a simple, vanilla menage with a hint of mystery.

The Kelly/KGI Series centers around a military family.

The Sweet Series is a very steamy collection of stories that revolves around a group of friends and coworkers, most of whom are employed by a security company in Houston, Texas.

Gail Faulkner

She writes steamy D/s

Full Ride - Available on Amazon as Ghost Unit, Book One This is a good example of a strong plot that continues beyond the one night that the Hero and Heroine had contracted for…

Into His Keeping - This is a long hot read that spans a 15 year story, a disappearance, and a son.

NOTE - In Gail’s books, the Hero and Heroine are equals who have chosen to enter into a D/s relationship.

Kristin Ashley

Her books are hot WRE. She writes in the first person and is one of the few authors to handle it effectively, in my personal opinion. She does go back between first person and third person.

Her characters are interesting and the guys are appealing, in spite of their habit of single word sentences, usually consisting of the word *Babe*

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The heroes cuddle after sex. What can I say… girls find this HOT! LOLOL

Cherise Sinclair

I have read and enjoyed her two shifter books - Hour of the Lion and Winter of the Wolf.

She has also written a number of bondage books which I have yet to read.

Here is an example of one of the Reader Advisories from her Amazon Product Description:

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, strong BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraints, spanking, etc), exhibitionism, voyeurism.

Victoria Heywood

Victoria Heywood is a good example of WENR - Women’s Erotica No Romance.

She writes in the first person and brings a woman’s sensibility to the erotica she writes. This is a good example of what women want to read when they are looking for erotica without Romance.

HEAT LEVEL EXAMPLES

All Romance eBooks

Q: Can you explain your "heat" rating system?

A: Sure!

1 flame- Stories will either not have consummated love scenes, or if the loves scenes are consummated detail is not given.

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flames- Stories will have some love scenes. These will be more sensual then graphic and will mostly rely on euphemism.

2

3 flames- Stories will have sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language used to describe them may be more graphic and direct.

4 flames- Stories have frequent love scenes that are explicit and described using graphic and direct language.

5 flames- Stories have a high frequency of love scenes that are explicit,

described using graphic and direct language, and/or contain subject matter that some readers may consider objectionable.

Resplendence Publishing

Diamond: Sweet romances where most of the heat is kept behind closed doors. These are stories for readers who want to read about the emotional aspects of romance, rather than the physical.

Emerald: Moderate sensuality where love scenes are acceptable, but the heat level is still relatively mild. Clinical terms for genitalia and no graphic euphemisms.

Sapphire: Standard sensuality level for most mainstream romances. Love scenes can be hotter and occur more frequently.

Garnet: Hot, spicy romances featuring detailed love scenes, graphic description of body parts, and intercourse. Garnet novels are considered erotic romance, but they do not feature subject matter that is typically controversial.

Fire Opal: The hottest of the hot, these novels feature intense, erotic scenes including, but not limited to, ménage, BDSM, and same-sex

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partners. Intimate scenes account for a larger portion of the novel, and sexual elements often dominate the plots.dirty talk; less of what they don't need (judgment, drama, expectation of anticipating woman's needs).

Siren Books

SWEET: Mainstream audience. No sex scenes; suitable for young adults.

SENSUAL: Mainstream audience. Traditional sex; spicy language suitable for the general audience.

STEAMY: Mainstream audience. Heavy sexual tension; graphic details; may contain coarse language; sex scenes contain some adult language. Still suitable for the general audience.

SIZZLING: Erotic audience. Graphic sex; adult sexual language (frequent use of adult language); may offend some delicate readers.

SCORCHING: Erotic audience. Contains many sexual encounters; usually contains unconventional sex (graphic threesomes scenes with no euphemisms); explicit adult language (frequent use of what would be considered offensive language); will offend quite a few readers.

SEXTREME: Erotic audience. Extreme sex scenes; hard core; many instances of unconventional sex; no holds barred in sexual language; not for the faint- hearted; definitely will offend most readers.

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CHARACTER TEMPLATES

Successful Romantic Erotica calls for appealing characters leaving interesting lives. To achieve this, a successful writer needs to include details, details, details.

If necessary, feel free to refer to photographs of people and places, including rooms, in order to have the details to make your descriptions interesting and believable.

HEROINE

Name

Nickname

Age

Physical Description This would include eye color, hair color and type/hairstyle, height and size, tattoos, general looks overall… The idea here is to make her unique and easy to picture

Makeup - what kind of makeup does she wear, if any?

Clothing - what kind of clothing does she wear? Is she a girly girl or tomboy? Does her choice of clothes reflect her job or career? Detailed descriptions of her clothing can serve several purposes: add insight into her character, add detail and flavor to the storyline

How she makes a living Job and/or career

Education - how does her education tie in with her job or career, her language, and vocabulary?

Accent - does she have a regional accent? Is her accent the same or different from those around her?

Where she lives and why - Does she have a roommate? Live alone, live with her family?

What her living space looks like - LOTS of details here and tie them in with the person she is

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Food - what are her likes and dislikes, does she have food allergies or dietary restrictions. Do these tie in with any of the important elements of the plot?

Habits - what are her endearing habits and what are her annoying habits. This is one of the most important questions on this list, because this is a very effective way to add appealing personality to your heroine.

Nerves - What does she do when nervous or frightened?

Swearwords - what are her favorite swearwords? What words did she use to express frustration and anger?

Music, Movies, Books, and Art - what does she like and dislike?

HERO

Name

Nickname

Age

Physical Description This would include eye color, hair color and type/hairstyle, height and size, tattoos, general looks overall… The idea here is to make him unique and easy to picture

Physical Fitness Routine - how does he keep in shape? Does it tie in with his job/career? Does it tie in with his past history? For instance, is he former special forces?

Clothing - what kind of clothing does he wear? Does his choice of clothes reflect his job or career?

How he makes a living Job and/or career

Education - how does his education tie in with his job or career, his language and vocabulary?

Accent - does he have a regional accent? Is his accent the same or different from those around him?

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Where he lives and why - Does he have a roommate? Live alone, live with his family? NOTE - While few Heroes live with their parents, if done properly, this could be a interesting and character defining detail, as well as potentially adding humor or conflict or both.

What his living space looks like - LOTS of details here and tie them in with the person he is

Food - what are his likes and dislikes, does he have food allergies or dietary restrictions. Do these tie in with any of the important elements of the plot?

Habits - what are his endearing habits and what are his annoying habits. This is one of the most important questions on this list, because this is a very effective way to add appealing personality to your hero.

Nerves - What does he do when nervous or frightened? NOTE - In most instances, the Hero is expected to be fairly stoic and undemonstrative. Sorry, not fair but true! LOL

Swearwords - what are his favorite swearwords? What words did he use to express frustration and anger?

Music, Movies, Books, and Art - what does he like and dislike?

Obviously, the Hero and Heroine are the most important characters within any romantic erotic book. However, do not overlook the richness that secondary characters can add to an effective story. Walk ons, those characters that appear only briefly maybe once or twice - such as the clerk at the nearby convenience store - can also add interest and humor to the story you are telling.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Erotica is a large and lucrative market. However is it important to recognize the different sub niches - Men’s Erotica and Women’s Erotica — both WRE and WENR, in order to meet their specific requirements.

If you are a male writer who wishes to enter the Women’s Erotica field, either as a writer or publisher, you need to educate yourself about what women want to read. IF you are unwilling to take the time and make the effort, I respectfully suggest that you stick to Male Erotica.

If you take the time to do your research write quality stories that are what the readers want, and that are presented in the form that they want it, you have a good chance at success.

Within WE, both WRE and WENR have the potential for lucrative sales. They have passionate readers who are eager to purchase multiple titles from their favorite authors.

At this point, Women’s Romantic Erotica is the larger market. If you want to go for the larger sales, you WILL need to embrace your romantic side ;-)

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