Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Release & Writing Tip Wednesday--Creating Metadata

Just Desserts is now available in e-book from Amazon and B&N! Chances are...he'll get exactly what he deserves.

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! Self-publishing offers writers another choice on the road to publication, whether they’re already traditionally published and/or e-press published, or unpublished. Although the author maintains control of the process, she also has a lot of hard work ahead of her. Education about self-publishing and the publishing industry is vital to a good product and creating a professional image.

One of the most effective ways to make a book discoverable is by Creating and Using Metadata to the author’s advantage.

What is metadata?

Metadata is data (information) about other data. In the case of books, it helps identify elements about each book to guide buyers in their search for a specific genre, topic, etc. A math textbook may be tagged with keywords such as math, textbook, algebra, geometry, quadratic equations, functions, or graphing. Buyers use these words to help locate and identify the math books they want.

Broad keywords will produce a broad spectrum of books from which to search. Rather than using “romance” to search for a book, searchers can be very specific in their keywords, choosing “contemporary romance” or “foodie romance” to narrow the search results. Adding more keywords will yield even more-defined results. Example: foodie romance, contemporary, pastry chef, small town, blackmail, librarian, bake-off.

Retail platforms allow the author to submit a limited number of metadata words and phrases with each book. Choosing great keywords helps readers find the types of books they want to read.

Make a list of possible search words and phrases. Genres and subgenres are the most obvious choices, but since retailers include genre and subgenre in their upload process, they’re part of the metadata. Why waste those limited words and phrases on something that’s already part of the search? The exceptions—KDP currently only offers “Erotica” rather than a separate erotic romance category, and erotica encompasses a very wide variety of romance levels, including none at all. If the book fits a defined niche that isn’t listed in the category choices, that description should be added to the metadata list.

Many keywords can come from the creation of blurbs and taglines. Plot points and storylines provide excellent search words—class reunion, music, ice skating, rugby, aging parents, deaf hero. The more specific the words and phrases, the more likely the book will be near the top of the search results when a searcher uses those terms.

Metadata also includes the book title, series name, author name, publisher, and any other information included in the retail site’s upload and publishing process. Every piece of information in the retailer’s book information form is metadata. These keywords automatically become part of the searchable database.

While characters’ occupations can be included in metadata, avoid adding words that suggest a topic that isn’t a part of the story. Example: The heroine is a psychologist, but “psychology” implies expertise that may or may not be in the book. Misleading tags waste readers’ search time and may result in the loss of potential readership. This also applies to choosing categories. A work of fiction with a psychologist character doesn’t belong in the “nonfiction-->psychology” category. Be creative, but also be truthful.

The metadata list is ready. Check off #9!

The To-Do List
1) Finish the book. 
2) Polish and edit the book. 
3) Write taglines and blurbs. 
4) Create or purchase cover art. 
5) Purchase ISBNs, if using a single ISBN for all retailers using the same book format (print or e-book). 
6) Create front and back matter. 
7) Format for e-book and/or print. 
7.a.) Add images. 
7.b.) Create audio book. 
8) Update website, blog, and social media. 
9) Create metadata list. 
10) Plan a marketing and promotion strategy.
11) Publish the book.
12) File copyright paperwork, if registering.
13) Add buy links to websites, blogs, and social media.
14) Implement marketing and promotion strategies.
15) Write the next book!

Be sure to check out the writing craft series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Craft Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace, and the writing career series, Writing Tip Wednesday: The Writing Career Handbook, in e-book at Amazon and B&N and in print at Amazon and CreateSpace.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!