Erotic romance novels
The subgenre got its start in ePublishing/small press. High volume sales showed New York publishers there was an untapped market for erotic romance that they could fill and since 2005 they have incorporated new imprints to meet the demand of readers. for erotic romance are difficult to verify as publishers tend to lump erotic romance in with established categories such as historicals, contemporaries, paranormals and other subgenres.
Focus of novels
Erotic romance novels have romance as the main focus of the plot line, and they are characterized by strong, often explicit, sexual content. The books can contain elements of any of the other romance subgenres, such as paranormal elements, chick lit, hen lit, historical fiction, etc. In fact, many erotic romance novels are often categorized by one of the categories already defined in the industry.
Erotic romance novels take the reader beyond the bedroom door where more traditional romance does not breach that barrier. The sex scenes, while explicit, are there for the purpose of character development. Erotic romance is classed as pornography. Works of pornography consist of sexual acts without a plot line. Erotic romance however includes well-developed characters and at least one primary plot with the possibility of subplots. The primary and/or subplots can stand alone without the explicit sex, but the characterizations in the story will suffer dramatically if the sexual content is removed.
Erotic romance writers generally have more flexibility in pushing the envelope of erotic romance than authors for traditional print publishers, although this has changed dramatically since 2005 when NY publishers began to explore the subgenre with lines such as Aphrodisa, Avon Red and others. With electronic publishing the writer has even greater leeway in most instances to write on subjects that in the past have been taboo, such as menage, BDSM, gay lit and other topics.