Back in my days as a bookseller, I often talked with customers who looked for recommendations based on authors they liked.
"I like Nelson DeMille," I'd hear. "Got any books like that?"
We had cheat sheets that told us "if a customer likes THIS author, recommend THAT author." After a while, you got a feel for what people wanted and could make recommendations without even thinking.
There's been an interesting discussion on Adbooks recently that stemmed from one person's request that people recommend titles that are "like" TWILIGHT. The subsequent answers have often surprised (and occasionally amused) me. Sometimes I'd go, "That's a fair comparison" and other times I'd think, "Those two books are NOTHING alike." It got me to thinking: what exactly do we mean when we say one book (or author) is like another?
Are we comparing style of writing? Similar theme? Pacing? In the case of TWILIGHT, when asking for a comp title, do we mean something that's romancey? Angsty? Vampirey? More importantly, when someone asks for a recommendation, do we offer suggests based on what WE feel is comparative or what we think the OTHER person feels is comparative?
When someone asks you for a comparable title, which area do you typically default to?