Label. A dirty five letter word used in this tense to define the category that one belongs in. Also, being thought of as black or white, a label doesn’t always make room for the grey. But, my experience, or lack thereof, leads me to believe that most things tends to lean towards various shades of grey.
So, the question becomes – how does an aspiring author brand their work? Where do they fit in in this enormously large volume of literary classifications? Recently, I addressed these very questions. Without a doubt, I’m a contemporary romance writer. I knew that much, at least. But, when I wanted to define the sub-genre I write in, that’s where the lines began to blur. Swallowing my pride, I nervously typed the question into a social media discussion platform featuring other authors at various stages in their careers and hit send. What kind of novelist doesn’t know if they write spicy or erotic? I certainly will need to know when I market my novel. I was relieved to discover my question was not so silly, after all. The consensus was that I am a writer of contemporary erotic romance. This distinction is not to be confused with erotica, itself, as erotica does not have to have a happy ending or focus on an exclusive relationship. These wonderful writers were kind enough to suggest internet resources, along with their own opinions on the topic which I will be forever grateful for.
With the growing number of self-published authors, now more than ever, the sub-categories are crossing a line. As with life, it’s complicated.