The Power of the Bikini

The Power of the BikiniAs some of you may have noticed I ran a blog on Saturday about a lawsuit associated with social media sharing. The cover picture was an attractive young woman in a bikini. You can read the entire story here but it’s not what I’m going to talk about today. Today is the idea that sex sells.

I write sword and sorcery fantasy novels. I write blog posts frequently. After yesterday I must ask myself if I am going about the business of doing it poorly. My books have sold very few copies, of late my blog attracts about twenty viewers a day and I’ve accumulated over 700 followers. That’s a pretty low number in the big scheme of things although certainly not awful.

Prior to yesterday my single best day was 81 views with the exception of my Freshly Pressed article about the St. Louis Cardinals and how being a fan was an important part of my life. Freshly Pressed means WordPress puts the blog on their front page for a couple of days. I had 440 views on the day I was Freshly Pressed.

Yesterday, with an attractive, fit seventeen year old girl in a bikini on my blog page I got 138 views which represents about a 41% increase on my (not Freshly Pressed aided) best day. Should I write about bikinis more often? Should my Sword and Sorcery novels take a turn to the vampire and zombie realms?

The main topic of my post on Saturday was Social Media and privacy. I got one comment. The vast majority of viewers came simply to look at the picture of the young woman and likely did not even read the story.

As a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist I know that to some degree it’s a numbers game. Higher views of my blog translates to more clicks on the links to my books. Click on the links to my books translates to sales of my books. Do I want more sales? More views? My course is obvious … more bikinis.

However, what if my books and this blog are about my Libertarian Ideals. Ways I think the world, the United States, the state of Missouri, the city of University City, and the people who read this blog and my books can improve the quality of their life. I hope to impart ideas to people to make them think, to help them make better decisions, to make everything around them better. If this is my goal then bikini pictures are irrelevant.

I’d be lying if I said every blog post I make doesn’t have an eye toward viewers. I often pick sensationalist stories that are big news on that day. I read all sorts of articles on various news outlets looking for ideas. When I posted yesterday I calculated using Chelsea Chaney’s name in the blog title to help SEO, I put in the bikini picture knowing it would attract attention. It was not random chance.

Where is the line between holding onto idealism and selling-out so that my efforts have a better chance to be seen? Where do I cross-over into sensationalism and leave behind the noble goal?

If no one buys my books, if no one reads my blog then all my idealism is pointless. If I stray from my beliefs and write zombie/vampire/bikini blogs and books then I’ve destroyed the very message I set out to impart.

What’s a boy to do?

I’m happy with my compromise so far. I write my blogs with an eye towards publicity. My novels, they are about Randian Objectivism and Sword and Sorcery Adventure, that I will not change. Ever.

It’s an interesting question that I imagine all of us have to face not just in the world of art. Idealism and pragmatism. Both have their value in the real world. At work, at home, in the car, and just about everywhere else. Have you battled with those concepts? What was your resolution?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery novels with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water (No bikinis but Jon Gray is one handsome and heroic fellow and Eleniak, the Dancing Flame, yeah, she’s a hottie)
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt