Do We Need Sex To Sell?
Some people have all the luck. If you’re a guy and an outrageously talented baseball player – as in talented enough for the MLB – you have the opportunity to have a great career and make an outrageously insane amount of money. But what if you’re equally as athletically gifted except your sport just happens to be discus throwing? Not only can you not give up your day job, you probably have to take a second one just for the money to participate.
For those in the fringe areas of any genre, whether it be sports or pop culture or even the corporate world, extra steps are often required for any chance at all to stand out. Take the world of classical music. Quick – can you name the top artist in opera right now? How about the best-selling violinist? Go ahead and think on that. I’ll wait.
Here’s the thing, though. Unless you high-tail it over to Google or you happen to love classical music, chances are slim that you’d know the answers no matter how hard you think. But classical musicians are no dummies. Despite their high-brow image they know as well as anyone that sex sells. So nowadays, even for classical musicians, if they’ve got it, they’re flaunting it.
Take Well-Strung, for example. A quartet of string musicians, Well-Strung has been making a name for themselves with a combination of talent, music that mashes classical with pop, and, let’s face-it, their frequently shirtless, ripped-bodied second violinist, Christopher Marchant. Chris isn’t shy about taking his shirt off. In fact, he’s not shy about taking all his clothes off, much to the delight of his fans. Chris and his pecs have begun earning the quartet attention, as evidenced by articles in New York magazine and the Huffington Post, among others. But a couple of years ago they received a less-than-favorable review in the august New York Times, where it was written of them, “as a classical ensemble, the quartet barely passes muster.” Ouch! A spank like that one might have sunk another group, but with near-naked pix of the well-built Marchand going around, Well-Strung has managed not only to survive but to thrive.
Several years ago musician Lara St. John caused a stir when she appeared topless on the cover of her CD, with only a well-placed violin coming between her girls and the viewer. Now, admittedly, part of the kerfuffle was caused also by the fact that St. John looked as if she were a mere teenager instead of in her mid-20s, which she actually was at the time. But did that cover help with the CD’s sales? asked no one, ever. You can bet your sweet Stradivarius it did. Was Lara St. John pressured to do it? She said in interviews years later she wasn’t and has no regrets about the picture. Yet one has to wonder who came up with the idea in the first place. Those other than St. John with skin in the game certainly benefitted from her titillating CD cover photo.
So yes, as we come to the Captain Obvious conclusion, sex sells. Everywhere. In order to get some needed attention, should we romance authors take a cue from classical musicians and market not just the sexy content of our books but our sexy selves as well?
With annual sales well over a billion dollars every year, romance isn’t exactly a fringe genre. Everyone knows that. And with the spike in indy publishing the market is more crowded than ever. How does an unknown author get her books to stand out among the Nora Roberts and Debbie Macombers of the world? Should we adapt an equally sexy image as the heroines we create and leapfrog our way to the top by baring all – or at least by baring some?
What do you think? Would you drop your top to sell more books or are you and your girly bits staying under wraps. Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and don’t forget to follow us at Lady Smut. We’ll always give you the naked truth.