Four Ways To Make Your Audience Feel Like Connoisseurs

2014 Artwork Audience Connoisseurs sketch

Let’s face it, everyone wants to be a connoisseur of something. Whether it’s art, food, music, beer, wine, tea, coffee, guitars, cigars, chocolate, TV shows, movies, games, comics, novels etc… people like to think that they’re a discerning and all-knowing expert in something.

I don’t know why, but this seems to be a fairly common part of human nature – after all, being a “connoisseur” might not be any different from being a geek, a nerd or an expert, but it sounds about ten times more sophisticated and worthy of respect.

And, if you’re smart, you can use this to your advantage when you’re writing fiction or creating art. How? Well, here are a few tips:

1) Have a unique “style”: Although I’ve already written quite a few articles about how to find your own art style and writing style, it’s very important to be aware of what your own style looks like.

Why? Because it’s the one thing that sets your work apart from other things in the same genre and it makes it a lot easier for both actual and wannabe connoisseurs to talk about your work and compare it to the work of other artists and writers.

Or, to put it another way, when people start describing other things that are similar to your art or writing as “[your name]-style”, then it’s safe to say that you’ve got more than a few connoisseurs (or people pretending to be connoisseurs) in your audience.

Not only that, if your style is distinctive and unique, then it offers something new and exciting to a jaded and cynical audience who have already seen and read a lot of different things. If there’s one thing that can be said about connoisseurs, it’s that it’s a lot harder to surprise them pleasantly and make them feel like they’ve discovered something totally new.

2) Do your research: Chances are, if you want to write, draw or paint something that will appeal to connoisseurs – then you’re probably a connoisseur yourself. After all, if you only had a casual interest in the genre that you’re working in, then you probably wouldn’t be too interested in investing lots of time and energy into adding things to it.

But, if you’ve just discovered something that you really like and you want to make things like it that will appeal to connoisseurs, then do your research. In other words, if you want to make something that will appeal to connoisseurs and make your audience feel like they’re connoisseurs, then you need to be one yourself. It’s that simple.

3) Reference other things: One of the ways to make wannabe connoisseurs in your audience jump with joy is to include a few subtle references to other stories, artworks etc… in the same genre that you’re working in.

If you want to make even the newest members of your audience feel like discerning experts, then try to reference popular and mainstream things in your work that they’ve probably heard of before (eg: a brief “Star Trek” reference in a sci-fi story).

But, if you want to appeal to actual connoisseurs, then try to make the references as obscure as possible (eg: like the references to “Zombie Flesh Eaters” in one part of Jasper Bark’s “Way Of The Barefoot Zombie”).

Yes, as I said in the first point on this list, your work should be primarily unique and distinctly recognisable as your own. But, dropping in a few subtle references to similar things can be a fairly quick and easy way to make your audience feel like they know more about the genre than most people do.

4) Quality: Although I usually advise people to focus on quantity rather than quality, if you want to make your audience feel like connoisseurs then you are going to have to focus on quality.

In other words, your work needs to be better than other things in the same genre in at least one way (eg: the writing, the dialogue, the level of detail etc…).

Why is this so important? Well, when people who see themselves as connoisseurs are discussing their genre of choice, then they usually tend to mention the thing from it that they consider to be the best example of that type of writing and/or art. And, if your work happens to be that example, then it’ll probably inspire wannabe connoisseurs to check it out.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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