Mobile, digital, social, online shopping – whether we like it or not, the new word-of-mouth involves computers. They translate our recommendations and drive online discoverability of our content. They have their own language – metadata – and it’s much more nuanced than you might think. It defines how authors and their books are described, presented and discovered by readers. It’s time to learn this language and make it work for you and your brand.
While books can’t sell themselves, rich metadata certainly can make them more discoverable at major online retailers and through search and recommendation engines. In today’s crowded online book marketplace, quality metadata can give you and your book(s) a significant competitive edge.
Metadata is so much more than a book’s title or ISBN. It’s actually a book’s unique online signature. Many authors don’t realize that there are many ways to optimize your book’s metadata to improve exposure and sales. Here’re five tips to get you started:
- Consider a subtitle. It should include popular keywords for your genre, especially if you’ve written a number of books that can be grouped together. Examples: “an international crime thriller,” “an authentic regency romance,” “southern fiction for women,” “a political conspiracy suspense novel,” or “a dystopian technothriller.”
- Use popular keywords. Amazon’s search engine can help you find those popular phrases because it will auto-populate the search field once you start typing. Use the top suggestions as keywords when you upload your book. Refine and update your keywords on a regular basis.
- Improve the metadata inside your eBook. The front and back matter of your book are part of its metadata, and can have a positive impact on your marketing and sales. Embed information and hyperlinks in these sections of your book(s) to connect the dots for readers. Add retailer-specific links for each of your other titles, social links, and a link to your website or a landing page.
- Invest in an effective book cover. Did you know that the most important piece of metadata is your cover image? Complete metadata with a quality image results in 473% boost in sales! That’s huge. Make sure to work with a professional who not only can help you design a beautiful cover but a cover that effectively conveys your brand to readers AND computers (through metadata). Did you know you can even optimize your cover image with embedded metadata? We’ve made this little trick standard practice at Bublish.
- Take time to tag. Tag your social posts, tag your blog posts, tag your photos, tag people (not kidding). Search and recommendation engines are building a roadmap of your online presence, so take the time to understand all the different types of tags and best practices for the various types of content tags. The more effective you become at applying the correct tags to your content, the more dramatic the improvement you’ll see around your online presence. It is essential to making yourself and your books more discoverable.
Kathy Meis will hold a session at this year’s AuthorU entitled, “Metadata IS Your Brand.” She is the founder and CEO of Bublish, the world’s first complete publishing solution with integrated brand-building, marketing and discoverability features. With more than twenty-five years of experience in the media and publishing industry, she has served in a wide variety of editorial and management positions at some of the world’s leading media companies, including CBS and Forbes, Inc. She is a founding partner of PubSmart, a publishing conference in Charleston, South Carolina as well as a professional writer, editor, and ghostwriter. Kathy speaks and blogs regularly on the subject of book promotion, author branding, social marketing, and discoverability. She has appeared at many conferences, including Book Expo America, Women in Media, GrubSteet, PubSmart, and IndieRecon.
Author U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre, during and post publishing of their books. Join AuthorU.org today.
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