What is cleverotica / cleverotic romance? 

Cleverotic is an adjective meaning both clever and erotic.  Cleverotica and cleverotic romance include well-crafted, intelligent prose containing erotic content appealing to a highly-intelligent audience.  The cleverotic genre generally includes books with more depth, poetic description, complexity, literary devices, thoughtfulness and higher-concept information than other forms of romance or erotica.  They tend to be less formulaic, and less trope or action-driven, and they aim to impact a reader’s mind as well as body.  Some might term cleverotic/a as ‘high heat for high IQs’.  Others might call it ‘smut for smarties’.


What is cleverotic.com?

Cleverotic.com is a website and online community where readers and writers of intelligent erotic content can share ideas on books they love.  It was designed specifically so higher-IQ readers of steamy romance and erotica could find books that specifically cater to intelligent readers of explicit content.  At the time of writing, Amazon’s Kindle store lists 466,000 books under Romance and 294,000 books under Erotica, with no subgenre to point higher-IQ readers to books they might enjoy.  At cleverotic.com, authors and non-authors alike can nominate books for inclusion on the site, so that readers of intelligent erotic content can find books to satisfy both mind and body.


Do I have to be an author to nominate a book for inclusion?

No.  If you’ve read a book you feel fits the genre of cleverotic, send us your nomination.


How do I nominate a book (or series) for inclusion on cleverotic.com?

After you’ve read through the information on this page, go to ‘Nominate’ on the menu and complete the nomination form.  Once a book is nominated, we evaluate its content as detailed below.  If it meets our criteria, it will be listed on the site.


Can I nominate more than one book?

If you wish to nominate more than one book, fill in a separate form for each book.  At this stage, we’re accepting up to four books for each author pen name, but ideally those books should represent different ‘flavours’ or genres for that pen name, so if you want to nominate more than one book from an author, pick out the best and most diverse of the author’s work. For books in series, we list the first book of the series or we showcase the entire series under one listing.


Why do you only list a few books from each author? 

Because our primary mission is to help discerning readers discover authors they may not have read before, we need to list as many different authors as possible, while keeping our book lists to a size that doesn’t overwhelm readers when browsing our site.  It’s for those reasons that our lists don’t show the entire catalogue of each author, but rather show a small, diverse sample of the best of their work.  That’s also why we only list the first book in a series, or we showcase an entire series under one listing. Our focus is to provide a sample from as many quality authors as possible. We know that once a reader discovers a new author, they will seek out the rest of that author’s work at online bookstores or the author’s website.


What criteria are used to evaluate books for inclusion?

When we receive a nomination, we examine the book’s writing to see whether it’s cleverotic.  If authors send us a copy of their book, we’re happy to look at the whole book, but if we aren’t sent a full copy, we look at the first 10% (using the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon).  We’re looking for writing quality above the level of a typical romance/erotica book.  We know our readers want books to make them think as well as feel, so we’re not fans of formulaic, repetitive, derivative or dumbed-down content.  We want three dimensional characters, lush descriptions and literary constructs.  We want books that surprise, delight and educate us with wit, whimsy, clever observation or interesting information. We love poetic phrasing, metaphors, symbolism and other literary devices. We want works that make us keep reading – not merely to find out what’s going to happen – but to keep experiencing the author’s wonderful style of writing.  As well as reading the excerpt, we may look at a book’s reviews, but generally we get a good feel for the author’s ability by reading a short excerpt from the first part of their book.  If, in our opinion, the excerpt shows writing that’s cleverotic, then we will include the book on the cleverotic.com website. Note also that at this stage we’re not accepting works of less than 15,000 words. We may, in the future, include a section for short stories, but at this stage nominated books should show as at least 60 pages on Amazon.


Are LGBTQIA books welcome?

Absolutely.  We’re also committed to OwnVoices works.  In fact, your book doesn’t even have to be about humans!  As long as it’s both intelligently-written and sensual enough to get us hot under the collar, there’s a fair chance we’ll consider it cleverotic.


Is anything not welcome?

As already mentioned, we’re not currently accepting books of less than 60 pages. We won’t take work we don’t consider to be both clever and erotic. We also won’t take work that we consider offensive; work that crosses the usual blacklisted lines; or work that glorifies senseless cruelty (which we hate, as opposed to glorifying hot BDSM – which we love!).


Why are some books rejected?

We reject around 40% of the book nominations we receive. The most common reason for rejection is that the book is ‘too mass-appeal’. We don’t want to be seen as elitist, but we have a commitment to our readers to only showcase works that are steamily erotic, but also either highly intelligent or literary. Not every reader of intelligent erotic content is going to like every book listed on cleverotic.com, but providing readers with a list of books that they know are intelligently-written helps narrow their search for something to read. We want to keep our promise to readers of listing books that are both clever and erotic. If your book is rejected, remember that our decisions are based on our opinions only, and you should not feel slighted if we do not personally feel your book is cleverotic. If you’re new to writing, we encourage you to continue developing your style and voice. It’s rare that an author’s first or second book qualifies as cleverotic, but often by an author’s third or fourth book there’s a strong, sensual style beginning to come to the fore. So beginner writers, take heart – we all were new once. If you don’t make the cut the first time around, keep writing, and come back to nominate one of your later books down the track. Read quality works to improve your own imagination, and visit forums like kboards.com to learn from others further along their writing journey.


Submission of ‘typical’ genre romance 

The most common reason for rejection of a book nominated for inclusion on cleverotic.com is that the book is a genre romance.  That means it is a book which has a good chance of widespread readability, appeal, accessibility and popularity, and it could happily sit on a shelf next to any mainstream publisher’s genre books. That’s great! It means the book has a good chance of commercial success. However cleverotic.com is not the place to showcase that type of book.

The very things that make a book great as a mainstream genre romance are the very reasons it’s probably not right for inclusion at cleverotic.com.

Genre publishers need books to fit a certain mould, because (they believe) genre readers expect romances to conform to established genre romance beats and story arcs; to be accessible enough to be understood by a wide segment of the community; to have similarities in tropes and storylines; and to be generally dialogue-heavy, fast-paced, action and goal-oriented, with defined acts that build to high-stakes conflict which must be resolved for a HEA or HFN. The books we showcase at cleverotic.com often don’t conform to many (if any) of those requirements. Many authors listed at cleverotic.com have had their books rejected by publishers as being too descriptive, wordy, arty, literary, poetic, deep or too ‘different’. Genre publishers say our books contain: too much thought and not enough action; too many literary devices; too much complex information unable to be understood by a layperson; a deficiency of well-defined conflicts, goals and motivations; a lack of pace; and a lack of accepted romance tropes, beats, conflicts and story arcs.

There are plenty of places to showcase mainstream genre romance. Cleverotic.com exists to provide a home for intelligent erotic literature that doesn’t fit accepted mainstream genre requirements. We hope to help authors of intelligent literary erotic content find their niche audience of high-IQ readers wanting something hot and super-intelligent, (rather than cookie-cutter and mass appeal). That means we tend to reject ‘typical, mass-appeal’ genre romance books.

We may, in the future, develop a sister website to showcase well-written erotic fiction of a more mass-appeal nature, such as might be described as ‘smart genre romance’. At that time we will happily include genre romance books that fit those requirements.  If you’re not sure whether your book is appropriate for cleverotic.com, nominate it anyway, and if it isn’t appropriate for cleverotic, we may keep the details on file for if or when the sister site is developed.


Is there a cost for listing a book?

At this point in time there is no cost to have books included on cleverotic.com.


How can I correct or add additional book categories or tags to a book listing?

We do our best to assign each book to the most appropriate genres, categories and tags, however we often only examine the first 10% of a book, so we may not have enough information to give it the best categorisation.  Please let us know (using the website’s contact form) if a book should have additional or alternative tags, genres or categories attached to it.


Can I add my own book review?

We love it when readers contribute book reviews to cleverotic.com!  Post your reviews in the comments section on each book’s page to let others know what you thought and help them choose which books they’ll like.  Also, please consider posting reviews to Amazon and Goodreads.  Even a review of just a couple of words is incredibly beneficial.  As well as providing helpful information for other readers, and feedback and encouragement to the author, you’ll be assisting an author’s writing career, because many advertising sites won’t allow authors to book advertising until a book reaches a threshold number of reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.  So please consider writing even a short review on the books you’ve enjoyed.


Join the cleverotic community.

Join the Cleverotic/a Facebook group to share your thoughts on intelligent erotic fiction, to learn of discount promotions and to interact with our cleverotic authors. Readers – find what cleverotic books others are reading.  Authors – jump on to promote your latest work, announce a special deal, talk with fans or ask for betareaders or ARC readers. Cleverotic also has its own twitter feed. And if any readers or writers have contributions they’d like to make to the blog (author interviews, editorials on writing, literature or erotica, discussions on publishing, etc), please let us know via the contacts page.


Are there any future plans?

There are plans for regular blog posts, including author interviews and discount price announcements.  In the future, we hope to incorporate a dedicated page for each author, ideally where authors can add their own content and interact with readers.  We may also include a forum where readers can discuss clever erotic reads and develop their own discussions.  If you have any other ideas, please let us know via the contact page.


To nominate a book for inclusion on cleverotic.com, use the form listed under ‘Nominate’ in the menu. 

To send us other messages, please use the regular contact form.

Thanks for being part of the cleverotic community.  Happy reading!