Struggling to get Amazon reviews for your book? You’re not alone. Fortunately, one of our authors—Dr. Frank Clark—was willing to share how he got more than 80 reviews in just a few months.
How’d he pull it off, and how can you do the same? Watch the video above or read the transcript below to find out.
Introduction to Getting More Amazon Book Reviews
Daniel Brantley: Hey, Dr. Clark. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. Super excited to hear about how you’re able to pull off all these reviews on Amazon for your first book, Positively Haiku. And before we jump into that, tell us about yourself and your first book, Positively Haiku Volume 1.
Dr. Frank Clark: Good evening, everyone, and Daniel, thank you for inviting me for this opportunity. It was so great to collaborate with you and Argyle Fox on my first children’s book, Positively Haiku, Illustrated Affirmations in 17 Syllables.
So, I am a psychiatrist, and that is my full-time job. But I’m also a poet, an author, and a father. And so, this project was basically inspired by the work that I do every day and working with individuals with mental health conditions. But also, again—looking at my creative side as a poet and, you know, one of my most important jobs is being a father and a husband.
This book is dedicated to my daughter, Claire. I wanted kids to have early affirmations because we know positive affirmations improve our overall health. They improve our confidence, they improve our self-esteem, and what better way to do that than also get kids exposed to poetry at an early age, specifically haiku poetry—three lines, 17 syllables. They’re easy for kids to recite and remember.
But this book is not just only for kids. I think it also can be applicable to adults. As I was writing this book, and even when I think back retrospectively, I would say that I wish that I had a book like this when I was a child, so I was kind of channeling the young Frank, the kid Frank, when I was writing this book, so it’s been a beautiful collaboration with, the illustrator Daria Ponomarenko, as well as Nan Avant, who’s an award-winning composer based in Washington State.
Setting Book Goals
Daniel: It’s been a real pleasure working with you on that book, and—just a little FYI to everyone else out there—he’s pumping out books left and right. So there’s more to come. Hang on tight. Volume 2 is already released and we’re working on some others.
But when you think about the creation of your book, what were your goals and how did online reviews play into that?
Dr. Clark: So I would say besides getting people, kids exposed to poetry and positive affirmations, when I think about success, I think about what type of legacy do I want to leave.
You know, a lot of times children’s books live in perpetuity. I wanted to create something that when I transitioned from earth, how will people remember me? You know, hopefully they can say I was a good father, a good husband, you know, a decent physician, a good friend, but someone who also really poured into children, because our children are the future. That has been the goals for any of my books, any of my creative pursuits as it relates to children’s books—wanting children to know that they matter, that they are valued, and that we see them.
The secondary goal was to utilize my craft as a psychiatrist in a different way.
One of my good friends the other day said, “This is part of your ministry.” I had never thought about it that way. So, I would say you don’t have to just practice medicine at the bedside. Medicine could be practiced beyond the bedside. And I think that’s where these Children’s books come in for me, even though I’m not a child and adolescent psychiatrist. I’m an adult psychiatrist, but I do see kids at times when they’re coming into the emergency department for mental health concerns.
How Amazon Reviews Help Reach Goals
Daniel: How do Amazon reviews play into that? How do reviews help you meet that goal?
Dr. Clark: Anytime you get a review, it makes the book more attractive, more sexy, I think. People love that, right? You can tell people about your book, right? But having reviews has helped me thrive in the publishing field. Even with my second book, people look and say, “Oh, wow—you’ve got like 60 reviews.” That helps. And then, things kind of spread word of mouth.
People are more likely to buy your book if they say, “Well, I brought his book and look at his reviews.” And so I’m very intentional about asking people I work with, my friends, my family, strangers—you know, when I have book events, Can you please write a review?
It doesn’t have to be a five-page essay. Even just two sentences, right? And that makes a world of difference.
Making the Ask
Daniel: Your book released September 12, 2023. Today is February 1, 2024. Every time I get online, it seems you have another Amazon review. How do you convince people to do it? It sounds like you just ask.
Dr. Clark: My wife will tell you that I’m not shy. Um, I’m not camera shy. I’m not shy in general. So, you know, I believe in intentionality.
A lot of times we have to get out of our comfort zones. For me, collaboration is one of my gifts. I feel like God has blessed me with that gift to connect with people to fellowship with people. So it is not beneath me to say, “Hey, thank you for buying my book. Could you please leave a review?”
I think having a social media presence helps with that. And also, you know, connections are key, right? And so connections could just be going to your neighborhood Starbucks. You can tell somebody that, “Hey, I have a book that’s out. Would you mind checking it out?”
It’s not like you’re selling the book to them right there, right? You’re not bringing it in. You’re not violating any rules. You’re just saying, “Hey, you and I have a connection. I stop by Starbucks every day and get coffee for my wife.” True story. When I am going through the drive through, I will tell, the employees about my book because we’ve developed a relationship and they’ve checked my book out now. I don’t know if they’ve actually purchased it, but I’ve taught them about part two. And so then they can tell their colleagues about it.
I’ve been going to the public libraries and talking about my book. It’s important to be creative, whether it be your faith community, your YMCA, anybody you can get in front of that you have developed a relationship with, allow that relationship to thrive and utilize it to your advantage in a positive way, and then say, “Thank you for supporting me. Could you just please leave a review?”
Now, the other thing is that I’m pretty good about bugging people in a healthy way. We all get busy. So I’ll say, “Hey, friendly reminder. Would you mind leaving a review?” And they’re like, “Oh, you know, I better do that. Thanks so much for reminding me.”
Finding Your People
Daniel: You mentioned faith community and the YMCA and all this stuff, and you’re part of professional organizations gives you an avenue to speak to psychiatrists and such about your books, but there are authors who probably think they don’t have that kind of connection. What would you say to those writers?
Dr. Clark: Don’t sell yourself short. You probably have more connections than you think you do.
I’ll go back to social media. There are mom Facebook groups. If you’re a author and you’re a mother, promote the book in that group.
If you’re a dad, talk about your book at guys’ night. If you’re a part of a Rotary Club, talk about your book there. If you’re at work, talk about your book there.
The spaces are there. I think we just have to be mindful of those spaces and use them to our advantage.
I think most authors have a social media presence. I actually got back on Facebook. I was off of Facebook for about four years. The only reason I got back on was to promote this book. It’s been life-changing, because people were like, “Oh, it’s great to see you back on social media,” and “Let’s start sharing your book.” And then it’s like a snowball effect.
Even if you feel like you have a small group of people that you connect with, think about who those people are, because everybody knows people in high places. And they don’t necessarily have to be in high places, but if you know somebody who’s the CEO of a bank, I’m sure that person knows a lot of people. If you know someone that is the head of whatever organization, that person has connections.
I think it’s about looking at your Rolodex, so to speak, which are now is our iPhone or Android. Look at that and say, “Who do I know who knows someone else?” And then that person can say, “Hey, you know what? I think you should start thinking about doing author events here.” That’s how I started doing author events at schools. It was because of my connections at the YMCA. A lot of people that I work out with are teachers. And with teachers, that’s a huge draw.
Can you talk to our kids about your book? Can you come do a book event and read to them?
In-Person Helps Online (Amazon and Beyond) Sales and Reviews
Daniel: You’ve got 83 reviews as of February 1st, 2024. What’s really amazing is that only seven of those are not verified reviews. For people watching who don’t know what verified reviews are on Amazon, you can only have a verified review if someone buys your book on Amazon. What makes this most impressive to me is that you’ve worked so hard at in-person sales. You have done so much face to face, going to events, meeting people, signing books, shaking hands, kissing babies, you know? But it’s not hurting online reviews or sales. How are you pulling off this magic trick?
Dr. Clark: Oftentimes if I have an author event, I may not sell that many books. I do a decent job, but some people will check out the book and ask if it’s available online. I explain that they can get it at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles (.com), Walmart (.com), etc. So that’s exposure, right?
Every time that I’m in-person, that’s more exposure for me and for the book. When I do author events at schools, I’m happy to donate copies to schools. And then I just say, “Can you write a review?
It hasn’t hurt me that I’m doing the book events in person, and some people don’t buy it online. It doesn’t hurt me at all. I think it’s actually helps me. We just had our South Carolina Psychiatric Association annual meeting that I presided over. As I was leaving, one of the speakers mentioned that she has two daughters. I kind of gave a shameless plug and said, “Oh, by the way, I’m a poet and an author.” She was like, “Oh, I’ve heard about you and about what you’re doing.” And I said, “I think your daughters might enjoy my books.” Now I just so happened to carry my boxes of books in my car. So I sold them to her right there.
She takes a picture of me and says, “Can you smile for the camera?” And she immediately—right there—did the review on Amazon. Then she posted something in Psychiatry Network, a group full of psychiatrists, which I’m a member of. I didn’t know she posted this, but that’s how my book got to number one release in children’s poetry for a second time. She kind of spread the gospel, so to speak, she just disseminated. I didn’t ask her to do any post, but she felt compelled to it to do that.
Daniel: Equally impressive is that of those 83 reviews, 76 have written reviews. You see books with a thousand ratings and 15 written reviews. You said that you ask for them, but do you ask explicitly for people to write something?
Dr. Clark: I’ve been overwhelmed with joy and tears of joy with the written reviews. People are taking time to write very thoughtful, reflective reviews. One of our neighbors wrote three or four paragraphs for part two. It brought me to tears. It was just remarkable. And I didn’t ask him to write that. I just said, “Can you leave a review?” Because again, I know people are busy. So even if you write a sentence, that’s good for me. I prefer that over just giving me five stars. I think people when people go online, they want to see written reviews.
It’s like going to a restaurant, right? You can give a restaurant five stars, but people want to know what was so good about this five-star restaurant? So I asked people if they have the time and they have the bandwidth, “Could you just write a little bit?” Some people write more, some people write less, but even writing very little can be impactful and powerful for people reading the reviews.
I’ve been very blessed to have colleagues and friends and family that are willing to write the reviews. Dr. Charnetta Williams is one of them. She wrote a nice review, and I did one for her book. So, you know, it’s helping each other out, right? Iron sharpens iron. We all want to lift one another up.
Action Step for More Amazon Reviews for Your Book
Daniel: What can writers do today get more reviews online right now?
Dr. Clark: Start with the people who have purchased your book, and go back to them. Keep a list, keep a tally and just say, “Hey, I just want to thank you again for supporting me and for purchasing my book. It means so much to me. I have an additional ask. It would mean the world to me if you could write a couple of sentences about how the book made you, your children, or whoever read the book feel. That would be helpful for me.” Then check in with them, maybe a week or two later with a friendly reminder.
Sometimes we have to bug people and just kind of say, “Hey, I would really love a review.” I think that’s where that’s where you start. But then moving forward as you’re continuing to promote the book again, look at the people who are you’re surrounded by. And think about, “Okay, who can I ask?”
Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t know. I would rather somebody say no to me than have some regret that I should have asked them. Also, no one has ever said no to me about leaving a review. If anything, it’s been an enthusiastic yes. So I think you’re more likely to get a yes than you are a no. You might get a maybe, but when people see that you’re doing things to pour into the community, especially children, people are more willing to write a review. They’re like, “Oh, our children need so much positivity in the world,” which we do, right? Because we are in a broken world and there’s so much negativity.
I’ve never met a person that said, “I’m sorry, I can’t leave a review for your children’s book.” Now, I guess you probably don’t want somebody to leave a review if they thought the book was horrible, but, most would probably tell you that.
Daniel: Thank you so much for this talk, Dr Clark. It’s really been a pleasure, and I hope that people got a lot out of it. Here’s to thousands more reviews on all of your wonderful books.
Dr. Clark: Thank you, Daniel. I appreciate it. Thank you.
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