If you’re an indie author who has published, or in the process of publishing and are committed to be successful at marketing, you’re familiar with metadata.
If you’re one of those people reading this right now and your stomach has jumped up into your throat because you think you’ve missed some big, important aspect of sales and marketing, relax. Metadata is just data about data. In the book world, that means that metadata is the information that describes your book: your ISBN, ISNI, the number of pages, your name, the price, the back cover copy, the cover image, etc.
When you’re busy working on your content, it might seem that some of these details are superfluous, and don’t deserve as much attention as your actual book.
This is wrong.
Metadata is what will help your book sell, and an absence of correct, complete metadata will stop your book from being successful. It is what Google and Amazon and Barnes & Noble and every other retailer and search engine and social media use to find your book, give suggestions on other authors’ pages, and recommend it to readers. And since the internet is the main way people shop now, metadata is increasingly important for reaching the consumer.
Metadata is discoverable, and in this globalized internet culture, it’s important to use it for the tool that it is. If you don’t carefully manage and update your Amazon author page, your vendor page, your Goodreads profile, or even fill in all the relevant information when applying for an ISBN, you are making your book ambiguous. And ambiguity = lost sales.
There are over 28,000,000 books in print that have been assigned ISBNs, which doesn’t account for books on Amazon that haven’t been filed. With so many options, readers are just looking for a reason to not buy your book. If you’re missing something, or they have to search for your book, they’ll just go for an easier option.
To use metadata to your advantage:
- Learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and use it!
- Fill out EVERY available space on your book profiles (including summaries, back cover, cover image, page number, type of print, publisher, etc)
- Get an ISNI
- Get an ISBN
- Make sure your (and your book’s) information is updated consistently whenever it changes.
Complete and correct metadata will make you and your book look more authoritative, and websites and search engines will take notice, and your readers and retailers will do much of your marketing work for you!