What Is Metadata And How To Use It For Your eBook?

Do you remember the last time you looked for a book online? You googled it, or you went to an online bookstore and typed the book’s title you were looking for. You might have even entered a keyword, such as “adventure book” or “fantasy book”. The title, the author’s name, the keyword you used… they all are part of what we called metadata.

What is metadata exactly?

Metadata means “data that provides information about other data”. It works a bit like SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and is important for a book, especially for a self-published author. It’s what helps readers to find your book, a very powerful marketing tool.

There are 2 types of metadata:

  • Main metadata: that’s all the information about your book, whether it is the title, author’s name, price, genre, ISBN, format, etc. It’s like the natural ID card of your book.
  • Additional metadata: It’s promotional tools such as the author’s bio, sample chapter, etc, essentially used in marketing. (I’ll write another blog post about each of these tools later.)

While self-publishing Finding Maxwell, I used the main metadata to build the persona of the eBook. I used Scrivener to include the title and my author’s name, but Kindle Direct Publishing helped me the most by making me choose the price, categories and keywords.

About categories

Think of a bookshop: on which shelf would your book be? Classified per genre, finding the right category for your book can be the most important step when it comes to self-publishing. Kindle Direct Publishing allows you to choose 2 categories, so choose wisely and be as specific as possible.

Example: Finding Maxwell is not only in the ‘Short Stories’ category but also in ‘Holidays’. And because I’m more specific by choosing the ‘Holidays’ category, the eBook comes higher in the ranking in that category.

To know more about how to find the best Amazon product category, I recommend reading Tina Marie Bueno’s article.

About keywords

The best way to make sure that people will find your book on Amazon is through keywords, but it can be tricky to know exactly which ones to use. Think about your story: what are you writing about? You certainly have a main topic, maybe even a known setting (existing city, country). You may be writing about a historical character. All those things are crucial when it comes to researching your book online.

Example: Finding Maxwell uses keywords such as ‘Holiday’, ‘Rome’, ‘Italy’, ‘Humour’, etc.

You can choose up to 7 keywords on Kindle Direct Publishing. The retailer explains that “the best keywords are those that do not repeat words in the title, category or description.” It can also be short sentences such as ‘how to self-publish’. Just keep your readers in mind and think about what they type on the research bar to find your book.

What you learned:

  • Metadata is important to help your readers find your book online.
  • Be as specific as possible when thinking about categories and keywords.

In the next article, I will talk about the royalties’ scheme on Amazon and how to self-publish on this platform. Hope you enjoyed this post, and see you next week.

How do you do your metadata?
Feel free to tweet me @vdvestelle

This article is the third of a series of posts about Self-Publishing on Amazon.
1. How to get your eBook ready for publishing
2. Do you really need an ISBN in digital?
3. What is metadata and how to use it for your eBook?
4. Making money writing with Kindle Direct Publishing