How to Rate Your Book on the Heat Scale

Moonday Mania


I’ve been searching for a way to define the heat levels in my paranormal romance books. On one side of the romance world you have some people using the term SWEET for no touching, some for light kissing, and some for sex behind closed doors. On the other side you have the fifth flame on the heat scale meaning anything from uses graphic language to watch out for whips and chains!

Since I’m writing somewhere in the middle, I end up usually scoring closer to the three to four flame level on most romance heat scales, but I’ve even been rated a five on another. This isn’t a problem when a reviewer reads my book and adds their own scale for their readers, but it becomes an issue when someone asks me how hot my books are, or when marketing them to readers. One person says my books are super-hot and rates it a five, another says the sex is comfortable (yes, that really happened).

Where am I on a scale that shifts with each person’s perspective?

I’m working on getting the Tales of the Black Court series up on All Romance Ebooks and I stumbled across their scale. My Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods books are on there and score a four on their flame scale. For some reason Snow and the Seventh Wolf is rated a three, but I think that is because it has a bit more action and the opening sex scene isn’t consummated. The individual scenes are just as racy as the other two books, so I would rate it a four.

I like this scale quite a bit. It enables me to split my books into what I feel are appropriate heat ratings. My new adult novellas are definitely spicier than my longer books, so they should be rated accordingly. Here is the scale:

1 flame- Stories will either not have consummated love scenes, or if the loves scenes are consummated detail is not given. 
2 flames- Stories will have some love scenes. These will be more sensual then graphic and will mostly rely on euphemism. 
3 flames- Stories will have sensual, yet more explicit love scenes, and the language used to describe them may be more graphic and direct. 
4 flames- Stories have frequent love scenes that are explicit and described using graphic and direct language. 
5 flames- Stories have a high frequency of love scenes that are explicit, described using graphic and direct language, and contain subject matter that some readers may consider objectionable.
Now I’m adding a few things, just for my website. First of all, I can’t do flames so I’m using hearts. ♥ If you see three hearts next to one of my books, that will be the equivalent of the three flames on this scale. I’m also adding some terms for my communicating information on my books, as follows:
♥ ♥ Sensual
♥ ♥ ♥ Steamy
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Spicy
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Caliente!
Currently I don’t have any books that are not either steamy or spicy, but you never know! And it’s good to have a reference point to work from, so I’m including all the ratings here. How do you rate books you read? Do you have a favorite scale that you like to reference?


Filed under Jessica Aspen's Books, Moonday mania

4 responses to “How to Rate Your Book on the Heat Scale

  1. Carole St-Laurent

    Spiciness is so subjective, but with the scale you describe, there’s no mistake what you’re getting into. 😉

  2. Your scale is clear where some are not but like the use of terms better than flames or hearts. Easier to get the idea without having the key to know what three flames means. 🙂

Share your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.