The following gem of an idea recently arrived in my inbox. I tried to think of a way to paraphrase, but it's so much better in Seth Godin's own words, and, if you're a creator of anything, I feel like you'll find this idea of a "mismatch of expectations" helpful:
"If you look at many 1 star reviews (of books, of music, of restaurants) this is precisely what you’re going to see. A mismatch of expectations. A mismatch that is blamed, completely, on the person who created the work, not the critic.
It doesn’t matter that the thing was clearly marked. It doesn’t matter that the thing was extraordinarily well-produced. And it doesn’t matter if just about everyone else experiencing it was thoroughly delighted."
You can either pander to the middle, putting everything in exactly the category they hoped for and challenging no expectations… Or you can do the incredibly hard work of transgressing genres, challenging expectations and seeking out the few people who want to experience something that matters, instead of something that’s merely safe."
So be your brilliant self. Don't pander to the middle. Your audience is out there--the ones whose expectations you'll meet (and exceed) every time--and these are the ones who matter.