Metadata is everything when it comes to online shopping, and it’s no different with online bookstores. Book metadata is all the information about a book that helps describe the product to readers such as its cover, price, title, author, format, genre, keywords, ISBN, price, availability, reviews, territorial rights, etc.
These bits of information communicates to buyers the book’s characteristics. By viewing book metadata, they are able to differentiate one book from the next and ultimately find the perfect book without ever having to physically flip through its pages.
Optimizing your book’s metadata is vital for your book marketing. These details not only guide a reader to discover your book, but also help them decide to buy it.
I’ve previously discussed in depth what book metadata is and why it is so important. Now I’ll walk you through the process of filling out your metadata to optimize your book’s online success.
Getting Your Book Discovered
ISBN & Book Formats
The different formats of your book will each have a different ISBN. For example, if you offer paperback, ePUB, and Mobi, you need a different ISBN for each book version. Then, as you’re filling out the metadata, you need to specify which version you’re focusing on and input the correct ISBN for accuracy.
Title & Subtitle
This is simply the title of your book. It should be relatively simple and self-explanatory. Be sure to remain consistent across platforms and formats in terms of wording, capitalization, punctuation, etc. Determine the exact title and stick with it. Also, including a subtitle can provide more description for interested readers to further set your book apart.
When filling out your author name, it is again extremely important to remain consistent with the details. This improves the searchability and removes all potential confusion for readers. Use the exact same version of your name across all platforms. Meaning, if you choose to include your middle initial in your author name, it needs to be there every single time, not just occasionally.
For example, author of A Song of Ice and Fire, which inspired the Game of Thrones TV series, George Martin elects to use George R.R. Martin as his author name. You’ll notice that he includes the initials of R.R. everywhere. In fact, I would challenge you to try to find an example in an online bookstore where his name does not include the initials!
While we’re all taught at a young age not to judge a book by its cover, it’s still done regularly. The cover is typically a reader’s first impression when exploring a book. It ultimately has significant influence over their buying decision. So, by uploading the cover image, you’re adding a visual element to your book’s metadata. This not only catches a reader’s attention, but also gives them another clue about its contents. Upload the image of your cover as either a JPEG or PNG file.
Genres & Categories
Genres and categories allow you to get your book in front of the right people. This is how a reader can find a new book online when they aren’t searching for a specific title or author. Often times they will browse an online bookstore based on the stores’ listed genres, main categories, and subcategories. Accurately choose the genres and categories your book best fits into so the right people find it.
Be specific when selecting your book’s categories because it sets your book apart from many other books in the same genre. eBooks2go’s metadata form uses the standard BISAC categories. So, rather than vaguely identifying your book as a fantasy novel, you can instead specify that it’s a romantic fantasy with dragons and mythical creatures.
The keywords you use in your book’s metadata are the words and phrases you choose as the most important descriptors of your book. When people search for a book simply using words and phrases, their search is narrowed by the keywords associated with a book’s metadata.
When you are determining the most fitting keywords to use for your book, put yourself in the mind of readers. What are they searching for that best relates to your book? Use important story elements such as the time period, main character descriptions, and common themes and storylines.
You can even use Google Keyword Planner or other keyword finder tools to help you determine the most searched phrases relating to your book’s details.
Creating Book Sales
A book’s description is another metadata element online shoppers use to determine if a book seems like an enjoyable read. Spend time carefully crafting the perfect description of your book to capture a reader’s attention. Be descriptive without giving away too much.
It’s also important to include your book’s metadata keywords in its description. If a reader found your book because they searched for a Civil War mystery, then include that detail in your book description, otherwise you’ll risk losing their interest.
Include a description of who you are as an author and what inspired you along the way. How did you fall in love with writing? What else have you written? Are you working on anything for the future? What genre do you most enjoy writing? What have you accomplished? Your author bio is another opportunity to spark the interest of your readers and make them feel intrigued to check out your work. You never know who can relate to your author journey or how it will inspire them.
In your book metadata you’re able to specify your target audience, or the readers who will most enjoy your book. Defining your audience helps bookstores organize a book in their catalogue. Also, by including your book’s intended reader age range, the reader can determine whether it’s a fitting book for them. An adult may not want to read a teen thriller. However, a teenager needs to know this is an appropriate book for them.
Reviews & Awards
Have you garnered any editorial reviews or testimonials? Has your book received any awards, accolades, or other forms of recognition? Has your book been featured or highlighted by media sources? Reviews and awards can significantly boost your book’s credibility. Readers want to know what sets your book apart from others. The reviews and awards section of your book metadata gives them valuable insight to learn how your book is in fact different.
Optimizing Your Book Metadata
When libraries and readers are searching for new books, they rely heavily on book metadata. Your goal as an author is to translate the information to the bookseller (Apple, Barnes & Noble, Overdrive, etc.) as efficiently as possible. This is done through accuracy and consistency. When this process is optimized, the book becomes more discoverable making book sales more possible.
Book metadata continues to drive the success of authors. To create and sustain book sales, metadata is absolutely essential. When you use eBooks2go as your distribution partner, all your book’s metadata details are organized and managed in one location, simplifying the entire process, setting you up for success in the industry.