Hey, they say third time’s the charm. But really, I wouldn’t have brought it up again, except Hilary Sares, Kensington Aphrodisia editor, emailed me in regards to my July 29th post in which I stole a quote from HelenKay Dimon’s blog that she snagged at Nationals this year. Ms. Sares (looking at my stats, it appears she Googled herself and found my blog. Google is a wonderous thing, eh?) felt she was quoted out of context. If you’ll all recall, this conversation started on my blog with a post about an interview Kensington editorial director Audrey LaFehr did with Paraphenelia back in May, in which she discussed the marketing of Aphrodisia and HEA optional. Dear Author picked up the thread of the conversation and it went on to other blogs from there.

The July 29th blog post that Ms. Sares emailed me about for those who are too lazy to click the link:

Not that we haven’t already covered this before, but Hilary Sares, Kensington Aphrodisia editor, said it again.

From HelenKay Dimon’s blog, where she writes about RWA and more specifically, the Kensington presentation. The emphasis in bold is mine.

**In the never-ending Aphrodisia v. Brava debate, the editors say: Aphrodisia is about sex and Brava is about romance. Hillary Sares (the main Aphrodisia editor) says the term “erotic romance” with the imprint is a misnomer. The books are not really romance and don’t have to be. Use of the title is for marketing – Kensington wants the books in the romance section and wants to reach romance readers. That’s it. And, the only legal on the sex is that it be legal.

I know, I know, we beat this dead horse before, but still, this…bothers me…as a romance reader and seller, because it feels so very dishonest. The books are not really romance and don’t have to be. Use of the title is for marketing

. It feels like writing a young adult novel and marketing it as romance, because it will sell better. If it’s not romance, and the publisher says it’s not, then what is their obligation to the reader?

**keeping in mind that this is HelenKay quoting from a speech given from Hilary Sares, so it’s not a direct quote. But I’m going to assume that HelenKay is savvy enough not to misquote an editor from her own publisher.

On Tuesday, I received an email from Ms. Sares. I’ll just paste it here in its entirety (she gave permission at the end of the email for it to be posted) and she certainly deserves to have her say. Here it is, no commentary from me. Talk amongst yourselves.

Email subject: my quote on your blog page

Just read it–and have to say that the undated quote is misleading and taken somewhat out of context. In fact, Aphrodisias are romances more than often than not, although they are intensely erotic as well. But–and this is the big difference–they don’t have to follow the rules (such as they are) of traditional romances: a HEA ending, for one, is not required. However, when we were first developing the line, booksellers were as new to the genre as we were, and no one was certain where such books would or should be shelved. (Books generally are positioned in the store according to the category on the spine: mystery, sci-fi, horror, etc). Therefore, we and other publishers had to tag them in a way that didn’t make major booksellers too skittish and erotic romance was the tag of choice. We didn’t want the books stuck in a back room, so to speak–and we had no way of anticipating the avalanche of positive media attention nationwide–TV, print and online–for erotica and erotic romance that coincided with our launch in January 2006. To put it mildly, the unexpected coverage changed the way erotic romance was marketed, from publishers to bookstore shelves.

True enough: some Aphrodisias are more frankly erotic and sexually diverse than others. But most are romantic as well, and some are very romantic. And I can supply review quotes for a number of titles to prove it.

Information posted online is seen by a lot of writers, published and unpublished, and it should be as accurate as possible. Thanks.

Hilary Sares

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