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Is This Fruit Pic Too Sexual? Life as Book Riot’s Managing Editor

Vanessa Diaz

Managing Editor

Book Riot Managing Editor Vanessa Diaz is a writer and former bookseller from San Diego, CA whose Spanish is even faster than her English. When not reading or writing, she enjoys dreaming up travel itineraries and drinking entirely too much tea. She is a regular co-host on the All the Books podcast who especially loves mysteries, gothic lit, mythology/folklore, and all things witchy. Vanessa can be found on Instagram at @BuenosDiazSD or taking pictures of pretty trees in Portland, OR, where she now resides.

When I first became Managing Editor of the good ship Book Riot, I thought I knew most of what my job would entail. I’d been an Associate Editor for two years and was prepared for a more intense version of what I was already doing but with more calls to take, decisions to make, and emails to send. Armed with my new title and job description, a plucky attitude, and a deep and abiding love for (overly) detailed documentation, I stepped into my new role. I was Managing Editor! I would edit, and I would manage things.

On most days, that is indeed what I do. I am responsible for Book Riot and related properties’ content strategy, including onsite content, podcasts, and newsletters, as well as social media and community engagement. I have three editorial direct reports and manage our fab group of contributors and contributing editors. I work closely with our Sales, Ad Operations, and Editorial Operations teams on everything from client communication to the execution of sponsored content and with our Technology team on the style and function of all things Book Riot. 

Aaand then there are the parts of my job that didn’t make it into the job description. I’ve compared suggestive fruit pics, explained that cinnamon rolls are neither elitist nor sexual, and had to tell advertisers that Nazi romance is a hard pass. Please to enjoy a sampling of some of the weirder things I’ve said, read, or had to think about in my time as Managing Editor. 

“Is This Fruit Too Sexual?”

Whether for a post on erotica or one specifically about covers containing sexy fruit (yes, we reuse images), I’ve been pinged more than once to ask whether a piece of fruit was too hot for TV. There are a lot of sexy fruit pics out there, my friends. You might not think a stone fruit could make you clutch your pearls, but you’d be wrong (and I’m not talking about the one below).

two hands holding half a peach, one finger pressing into where the pit would be
Photo by Deon Black on Unsplash

“Yeah, I’m Just Not Interested in Nazis Getting an HEA.”

Websites make money through advertising and Book Riot is no different. Did I know I’d need to evaluate proposed titles from clients for fit and values alignment? Yessir. Did I expect to still have to tell the people that Nazi romance ain’t it in the year of our lord 2023? Sure didn’t. 

“Did Jeff Just Say Bigolas Dickolas? Again?”

My office shares a wall with that of our CEO and co-founder Jeff O’Neal which means I have the unique privilege of overhearing his end of the Book Riot Podcast and Patreon when he records from Portland HQ. Jeff gon’ Jeff on any given day: puns in abundance, a two-for-one special on metaphors, dad jokes for the gods. But hearing those Jeffisms out of context when I least expect them, like repeated mentions of the Dickolas of house Bigolas? I live.

Another recent out-of-context gem: “I don’t know what the condition of my meat suit will be, but I’ll probably want to spread it out!”

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