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A Million Shades of Smut

“It’s always older women, never younger than 30. There’s a whole group that has release dates memorized. In the five years that I’ve worked here, I have not seen a single man buy one of these books.”
—Manhattan Barnes & Noble Clerk

What Makes Smut Good?

“A hero who’s neither twisted and sadistic nor overly perfect. A heroine who’s not too stupid. No smuggling or kidnapping subplots. No gratuitous S&M or tantric sex. And no anachronistic names—women were not named Brittany in Regency London.”
—An anonymous romance-novel addict

What Makes Smut Bad
Excerpts from one-star Amazon reviews.

“So saturated with sex that you forget what the story is about.”
Divorced, Desperate, and Delicious

“Christian wasn’t alpha enough for me.”
Fifty Shades of Grey

“The number of words misused is startling. Warlocks are, by definition, male. So a female warlock (much less a female warlock seer) is a contradiction in terms.”
The Vampire King

“I believe in angels, and I think it’s wrong to write a book about one falling in love with a human.”

“Katie is 5'2" and Luke is 6'3". What a freaky-looking couple.”
A Hope Undaunted

“Book was not at all as presented in the description.”
Big Spankable Asses

What Are the Most Popular Subgenres?

“Romantic suspense was big ten years ago. And paranormal romance, five years ago. Erotica is really big right now.”
—Kimberly Whalen, literary agent, Trident Media Group

“Military-themed romances are extremely popular, because we live in a time of increased patriotism, especially after SEAL Team 6 [killed Osama Bin Laden].”
—Pam Jaffee, senior publicity director, Avon Books

“Our top-selling subgenres are contemporary, paranormal, and historical.”
—Jules Herbert, Romance buyer, Barnes & Noble

How Dirty Can Smut Get?

Love Amid the Ashes, by Mesu Andrews (Christian romance):
7 kisses

Whitney, My Love, by Judith McNaught (Historical romance):
2 acts of intercourse

Dark Lover, by J. R. Ward (Paranormal Romance):
4 acts of intercourse

Thong on Fire: An Urban Erotic Romance, by Noire (African-American Romance):
15 acts of intercourse

Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James (Erotica/BDSM):
24 acts of intercourse