“If you don't like my book, I'll buy it back from you.”
That's what I tell every single negative Amazon review I've ever responded to.
If you bought a car and it didn't work right, you'd bring it back to the dealership. If you bought a cell phone, and it didn't do all the amazing things the ad said it would do, you'd want a refund. Right?
So why don't authors do this with their books when people don't like them?
I would never want someone to keep a book that didn't live up to the promises I made as the author. Which is why I tell people, “If you buy one of my books and don't love it, send me your Paypal address, and I'll pay you back..” I'd rather get the book into the hands of someone who might love it.
Yes, this is a little risky, but I think every author should do this. Why not give your readers the kind of guarantee they deserve? If you don't love this book, I'll give you your money back. Do you really want to make a royalty off someone who doesn't love your work? That just seems wrong.
Offering dissatisfied readers a refund just makes sense. Here's why:
- It's best for the customer (because who wants a book on their shelf that they don't like?).
- It's best for the author, as such a promise will engender greater trust from the reader.
- It's best for the books, as it will force authors to write better books (because you don't want your readers sending you a bunch of “I hated this” emails).
A crazy experiment
So, I'm doing this right now for my latest book, The Art of Work. Since the book came out last week, over 150 people have reviewed it. A couple of them didn't like it. I offered to give them their money back if they ship it to me, so I can give it to someone else.
I sincerely hope they take me up on it.
If you haven't bought the book yet (or taken advantage of the bulk deals that are going on this week), I want to offer you the same deal:
- Get the book this week at any retailer, including Amazon, B&N, BAM, or iBooks.
- Submit your receipt here to get four digital bonuses worth $250.
- Read the whole book and email me if you don't like it. I'll Paypal you back the money you spent on it and give your copy to someone else. You can even keep your bonuses.
It just seems like the only honorable thing an author can and should do.
Another way you can help
Many readers have written in, asking how they can help with the launch. Usually I say, just keep doing what you're doing. It helps — a lot. But recently, something came up.
Yesterday, my publisher told me this book has a good chance of hitting The New York Times Best Sellers list this week if things continue to go well. So if it's not too much to ask, I'd love your help in getting the word out.
If you've already picked up a copy of the book and would be willing to spread the word, that would be great. And if you grab an extra book or two, that'd be amazing.
What do you think about this promise authors should make? Share in the comments.