That’s right, I work in the adult entertainment industry. More specifically, I work as the adult-level collection developer in a regional library system. I don’t buy the kids’ books or the young adult books but I do buy the books for grown-ups. See?
My other, part-time, job is writing articles for a library database called NoveList. (Check with your local public library to see if you have access.) I write read-alike articles. I take a specific author– Neil Gaiman, for instance– and describe his appeal characteristics, e.g., he has interesting characters, and his books move at a good clip, and he has a lyrical style to his writing. That kind of thing. Then I recommend five other authors who have similar appeal characteristics. It’s an informed version of "If you like so-and-so, you’ll probably enjoy reading these authors– and here’s why."
Writing about Neil Gaiman was fun. Writing about some of these other folks is not so fun, and by "not so fun" I mean "better than a root canal without anaesthesia, but just barely."
Remember, not only do I have to read enough works by the author to be able to describe her or him with authority, I have to read enough works by five other authors to be informed. Sometimes it’s more than five other authors, in the case that I start reading somebody and then realize that it’s not a good match.
Recently I wrote about Zane, who’s this incredibly popular black erotica writer. It was painful. I have no problems with African-American-themed books, or with erotica, but I have plenty of problems with bad writing. (My definition of ‘bad writing’ involves poor/incorrect word choice and overabundant comma splices.)
Also painful was my study of Frank Peretti, a Christian horror writer. I love horror and I have no problems with Christian writing per se, or with any religious fiction, for that matter. But I resent that so much of Christian writing is conservative. One of Peretti’s novels is an anti-Darwin tract. Please. It is quite possible to be a Christian and subscribe to evolution. I do it myself. It is even possible to be a Christian and a liberal. I pull off that trick, too. So it makes me furious to realize that "Christian fiction" is actually a euphemism for "conservative evangelical Christian fiction." There are lots of Christian writers out there, but they’ve mostly co-opted the theology for their own narrow interpretation. Which is fine, but I’m not pleased that it masquerades under the broad label of "Christian." Where’s the fiction for my kind of Christian, hmm?
…I have this fantasy about a job interview. It’s set in a saloon (not very probable, but bear with me) and all these other people are competing for a readers’ advisory position, but then I swing open the doors and come sauntering in, all ominous-like. A hush falls over the drunks/interviewers, and then in a parched-yet-menacing voice, I whisper the words of legend: "Aye. I’ve read Peretti. And Zane. And lived to tell about it."
Then everyone’s so impressed and awed that they offer me the job, preferably with a higher salary than what they’d advertised, and I ride off into the sunset.