February 9-16, 2006 Edition

Publishers Turn Up

Heat on Erotic

Romance Imprints

TORONTO/NEW YORK/2/6/06—Harlequin Books, Kensington, and Avon, leading publishers of romantic fiction, are all in the process of launching new erotica imprints, according to an article by Judy Gerstel in the Toronto Star, the newspaper owned by Harlequin’s parent company, Torstar, Inc.


Book publishers know readers really want erotica and want it bad. But readers also want it good.

Susan Pezzack, an acquiring editor at Harlequin, told the Star that growth in the genre is "because women are experiencing sex in a more open way." Pezzack edits Harlequin’s new Spice erotica imprint that will launch in May 2006. The editor indicated that Harlequin is going further than it ever has before with the graphic nature of its erotica fiction. Yet, all of the publishers want erotica that is still considered decent literature. They are striving for a balance between crude and overly literary.

"We are definitely looking for authors who can write this type of editorial. People will giggle but to write a good believable sex scene is a very hard thing to do. You want sex scenes that have their own tenderness but without the schmaltziness and cheesiness." Read the full story at the Toronto Star website.

Harlequin Spice books run between 90,000-150,000 words. Avon word requirements are 85,000 to 90,000, and Kensington’s Aphrodisia seeks works in the 80,000-100,000-word range.