From the APA information sheet:
“This half day seminar will demystify metadata, providing a very clear definition and explanation of the essentials. Discoverability will be the key theme – recognising the importance to publishers of ensuring their titles can be found online.”
I realise that a lot of people hear the word metadata and feel like this:
But really they should do this:
Yes, they should listen and learn all they can about metadata!
While metadata means data about data, for selling books online it is how people discover and purchase your book. It’s crucial to get right and worth understanding how to maximise the book information.
I covered the BiblioCrunch Ebook Marketplace on the blog here and I’m really impressed at what this US-based ebook marketplace is doing for authors. Their self-publishing blog is really interesting and I often distribute their information. Recently I wrote a blog post for them and covered my thoughts on metadata.
Extract from The Key Ingredients Needed to Create Great Digital Content on BiblioCrunch blog.
Metadata is all the information about your book that allows it to be found and sold online.
This quote from Michael Bhaskar, Digital Publishing Director, Profile Books explains it perfectly:
Metadata influences search, it influences territoriality and categorisation – metadata is the advert, the sales pitch, the sell in and the advance promotion; metadata is the random book left on the table, the fervent recommendation of a friend, the arresting blurb, the good review, serving the random browser and the determined buyer alike.
Basic or core metadata includes:
- Book title
- Book Description
- Book cover
- Page extent (for printed books) and format
- Language and rights
- Category (ie Fiction/Commercial Fiction)
It can also include enhanced or enriched metadata including:
- Author biography
- Book blurb
It’s ideal to fully utilise all fields of the book information that are made available to you. When you are getting your title edited you may like to ask your editor to also finesse your book description. Always check the categories or keywords of books you believe your competition are using and keep testing and changing to see if these affect sales. It may be possible to change your book category on retailer websites to a less competitive one to see if this increases the sales ranking.
Remember that the book cover and book description are two key factors influencing discovery and purchase of your book online. It’s all about maximising every chance that someone searching for a book will find yours.
More great posts aimed at self-publishers can be found on the BiblioCrunch blog.
I conduct a lot of training advising writers the best practices for self-publishing and their options of who to work with on their books. I always mention metadata and how it influences online discoverability and sales.
The APA workshop is aimed at publishers so I expect the processes to supply the metadata are different than those encountered by self-publishers. The core issue of discoverability, (perhaps better described as ‘how can I get the potential reader to find and buy my book/s’) is the same for both established book publishers and a first-time independent author.
Some of the questions I’m hoping to have answered at Metadata Magic include:
- Does including enriched metadata influence sales results?
- I often hear complaints about metadata – incorrect data being dispayed on a book result page. Do the errors occur at retail end or publisher (self-publisher) end?
- Each retailer has slightly different needs, why isn’t the industry working together (publisher and retailer) to standardise this to cut down on errors?
- What does a publisher do when the metadata is wrong? How fast is it fixed?
- And importantly for small publishers, how much time does it take, what stage should it be done at and can the responsibility be shared?
I’m looking forward to spending a day exploring metadata and will report back on what I learn.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions you’d like me to ask on the day.