I’m having a lot of trouble with this issue, not least for the very fact that I am not even really sure what exactly ‘erotica’ means and how it differs from so-called ‘romance’ fiction that has extensive (and even explicit) sex scenes.

What exactly must a book contain in order to warrant the ‘erotic fiction’ label? Suppose, for example, one writes a Thriller/Mystery book that happens to have (explicit) sex scenes in it, is the author expected to put the ‘erotic’ or ‘adult’ tag on the book as a keyword? Or do you just put something like ‘PG 13’ or ‘R rated’ as a keyword? Does it depend on how graphic the scenes are? Or is it okay to not use any keyword at all that indicates sexual content in the book?

What exactly is Amazon’s policy on this issue, because they don’t really make it clear?

1 Answer 1


According to my partner, who is an author on Amazon, "Romance" or one of its sub-genres is the correct category for work that contains graphic sex, but isn't correctly "erotica" (which is, apparently, just sexual). Science fiction or fantasy with graphic sex is "paranormal romance" or "speculative romance". Action novels with sex go under "contemporary romance", usually.

Key is, romance readers (who commonly go through multiple books a week) are the ones such works will fly best for. If you don't categorize them as some kind of romance, by contrast, you run the risk of Amazon pulling the books or, for repeat offenses, banning you as an author, due to "adult content".

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