With a new release coming on May 10th, I wanted to tackle a topic that often comes up between readers and authors. It is an article of debate for some, but for me, it comes down to preference. Heat Ratings.
For the record, I write steamy, sensual, smoldering historical romance. There, now you know my secret.
How hot do you like your romance?
If you’re an avid romance reader, like I am, then you have a preference when it comes to the heat rating and choosing a romance novel. We all do. Do you like sweet romance with no sex? Do you like a scene or two? Do you prefer closed door? Or are you an erotica fan?
I’m a middle of the road kind of girl, myself. I love sexual tension and slow burn romance, but I prefer to see the union come to fruition on the pages. Some would prefer to have these written as closed-door, where the union is implied, but not described. I am not one of those. As the reader, I am emotionally invested in the character’s relationship. I’ve put myself in the heroine’s shoes. So I personally find these scenes to be emotionally fulfilling as I experience the relationship developing between the hero and heroine.
Now, the scene doesn’t have to be graphic and take up ten pages of the book. I’ve read books where the love scene is a page long and it served its purpose.
Sex can be an important component of the story’s progression and the character’s development depending on the story. And yes, there are times when it is completely unnecessary. I dislike when authors try to force the scene or add a sex scene just for titillation. Yes, there is such thing as too much sex in a book. I get bored of it. There’s a balance, and I know from personal experience in my own writing that balance is hard to maintain. When it’s done right, the story should flow perfectly.
I have had readers tell me they would have liked my stories better without the sex. They told me that sex was not a spectator sport and that I should write something better with a closed door. Not going to lie, that stung.
I don’t put sex scenes into the story on a whim. I put them there because they progress the story and/or help the characters evolve. Sometimes it’s there to heighten the tension or punctuate something that comes after their consummation. There is a reason for it.
I dislike the terms “dirty” and “clean” romance. I abhor these terms. Sex is neither dirty nor shameful. Some topics may be distasteful for some readers. I understand. This is why I include a small author’s note at the end of each blurb on Amazon (and other retailers.)
I don’t write sweet romance. My books are steamy but not erotic. If you don’t care for the sex scenes, then feel free to skip over them. I won’t have hurt feelings if you skip that part. But I will be hurt if you blast my book for being “too hot” when I put the disclaimer right beneath the blurb that you read before purchasing the book. So, please take note, if sex makes you uncomfortable, then you shouldn’t read my books.
I wish retailers would have a heat rating scale similar to Audible’s amazing rating scale. I’m not a fan of audiobooks. I prefer to read the book and most of the narrators get on my nerves after a while. But I was searching through the collection and was pleasantly surprised by the rating system they have for the romance novels. It makes my life so much easier. I know exactly what heat level I’m getting.
The link explaining their rating system is https://www.audible.com/ep/Romance-Books-With-Steamy-Score. You should definitely check it out.
I think they should use this system for the whole romance genre on all the other platforms. It’s a great visual for the reader to see what they’re purchasing and if it’s what they’re looking for in a book.
Until they do this, I’ll continue to put my little author’s note at the bottom of every blurb. No worries. 🙂
And remember, never feel like you have to justify your love of romance, be it sweet or steamy or erotic. Life’s too short not to read what you love and what brings you joy.
Until we meet again, may your bookshelves be full and your hearts even more so.
All my love,