April 30, 2009

Read my first serious complaint about The Boss Benchmark

I received my first serious complaint about my book. The reader was not happy with it at all.

“I have received your book but am disappointed as it is pretty obvious that it is a colour copy with a spiral bind and not a book as you have advertised and or what any buyer would expect. The colour is also of a very poor quality and hard to read and the spiral bind is tight and very difficult to turn the pages. I hope you have a proper book to replace the one I have.”

My response was this:

“I am sorry that you feel disappointed with my book and that you think it is not a real or proper one. It is spiral bound so it is an easy tool for bosses to use, refer back to often and work through gradually. In the copies I have the pages turn with ease on the large 20mm spiral. I am happy to refund your purchase price, minus postage if you send the book back to me as I don’t have any other versions or copies to send to you – they are all spiral bound.”

She decided not to take me up on my offer (maybe that means the content isn’t half bad?)

“I have decided to keep the book since you don't have a "book" version for exchange.”

I don’t have any problems with the print or colour quality – in fact I thought it was great. There was of course (in my first edition only) the problem with the font in the true story sections being really hard to read (naughty design oversight on my part), but that was changed significantly for the second edition which she received.

I was excited to get this feedback. I take my own advice and don’t “avoid the yuck” – yuck is transformational and super powerful. If you thought The Boss Benchmark absolutely sucked then I want to hear all about it – in detail! That’s gold! Often readers are very shy about coming forward and you hear nothing. The majority of feedback I’ve had I’ve had to squeeze out of people! It’s also hard to know if the feedback you do get is how the person really feels as they may think it’s a waste of time and money but not want to say so. Everyone takes on info so differently and everyone finds such different info useful – so there are probably tonnes of people who read my book and thought it was a waste of time – every person doesn’t click with every tool and that’s fine. The other factor is when ordering online, you don’t get to hold the book like you would in a bookstore. So you just have to trust that whatever content/solutions/information the book promo text promises is in there and will help you.

It seems the definition of a book is very subjective. According to this customer, The Boss Benchmark is not a book because:
* It is printed in colour
* It has a spiral bind

I kinda know what she means. I’ve been given something someone referred to as a “book they’ve written”. It didn’t have an ISBN, wasn’t available in libraries, it measured about 5cms by 7cms, only had about 150 words and weighted about as much as a sneeze. I remember thinking “that’s not a book!” – HOWEVER it sold in the likes of Whitcoulls – so maybe that was enough for the person to consider it a book.

With self publishing becoming easier and a lot more common, every man and his dog are writing a book. I can name about 15 people in my close network that are doing or have done so. Each of these people will have their own interpretation of what a book is and how they will present theirs.

Anyway, I’m full of energy and excitement now. It’s exciting to hear brutal honesty! I am pondering whether or not my website should say “this book is spiral bound” (or something similar) as until now I hadn’t realised I needed to. Any thoughts on this very welcome. I still believe my book is a "proper one" even thought it doesnt weight 3 kilos and have a cover so hard it could stop a bullet.

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