Some of you know I also blog the first Saturday of the month at http://www.romancingthejock.com, romance authors who love sports and the men who play them. An interesting question came up among the contributors posited by Sophia Henry, new to our group and about to have her first hockey romance released soon. She'd been panned a few times by reviewers who received advance copies because her book lacked the heated sex scenes implied by the PR hype where she'd been compared to Toni Aleo and other highly erotic authors.
I had a similar experience when I started the Sinners series and my first book,Goals for a Sinner, was compared to Bella Andre and yes, Toni Aleo. New to the publishing game, I timidly suggested that the cover supplied was sexier than the book, and I feared readers might be disappointed. The reply back was along the lines of "This is what sells a book, honey". They did remove the hero's black beard since I pointed out he was blond and clean-shaven. I got a review that said, "You call that a sex scene?" Unfortunately for readers expecting more, my sex scenes are somewhat realistic. People get interrupted by phone calls. The couple doesn't copulate for hours and hours, and sometimes don't have simultaneous explosive orgasms because sex rarely happens that way. The best I've ever done is three flames or jalapenos or whatever icon is used for heat level, though a reviewer described one of my most recent scenes as panty-melting. Well, I guess I finally went up a level though not intentionally.
Like Sophia, my aim is to provide a good story about a sport I love. I am more interested in the lives of the players and those around them than I am on their having lots and lots of sex. Some books have more than others because it depends on the character. I always say whether I write a sports novel or one of my many other books, there is as much sex as is needed for the plot and that particular relationship. There may be only one sex scene or many. None will be longer than two or three pages simply because I get tired of writing them. A sex scene should never take longer to read than real sex. But, that's just me talking. I totally respect women who want the escape of a really hot encounter.
I suggested to Sophia that she check her cover blurb and cover art and see if she could get them adjusted or toned down. Writing for a big publisher, she won't have much input. Usually, I compose my own blurbs, but the PR folks sometimes ramp them up. I also get input on my covers, but have learned to adjust my expectations because this is what sells, honey. I have built a following for my brand of sports books. Readers who like my books find me, and they will find Sophia as well. Maybe her cover copy should compare her to Lynn Shurr.