Although I worked for a computer software firm, I’m not a technical person. I didn’t grow up with computers and my learning has been trial and error. Sometimes this learning has been painful and other times it’s been funny. Computer and Internet learning are an integral part of writing.
Still, the learning is hard. I keep hoping that I’ve crossed some sort of threshold and am computer literate. This is partly true, and I continue to learn new things.
Recently I listened to a podcast, “Metadata is Your Brand,” from Kathy Meis, founder of Bublish. According to Meis, metadata is information that computers use to access information, or in an author’s case, “online book discovery.” If you and I had metadata scorecards how would we rate? What would we rate?
Book category. Your publisher will be glad to help you choose a category. Since I write health and wellness books I thought my category would be “health.” Not so. It turns out they fit under “self-help” and “inspiration. You should know your category or categories six months before your book enters production.
Keywords. Right after I signed my book contract my publisher asked me to think of keywords. Some of the words: family, caregiving, caregiver, care receiver, home health, and health-care. Brainstorm on keywords for your book and try to come up with 25 of them.
Images. Look at book covers on publishers’ websites and Amazon. Notice that some covers stand out and others look poor in comparison. The cover of your book should be eye-catching and include elements that represent content. Book covers can be changed. When my publishing company was bought by another company, I asked for a book cover to be changed. The owner was glad to comply.
Locations. This category includes the publisher’s website, Amazon listing, eBook listing, and online presence. With these things in mind, I’ve added extra information to the end of my emails: Visit (website link), Learn (blog link), Like (Facebook link), Connect (LinkedIn link), and Follow (Twitter link).
Get Amazon reviews. Your options include asking friends to post reviews, paying for reviews, putting an electronic version on a review website, book groups and clubs. Getting reviews is a slow process, so allow lots of lead time. Send gentle reminders to friends who agreed to write reviews but haven’t done it.
Use hashtags. This is a new practice for me and may be new to you. Think of hashtags as a file category system. Rachael Sprung explains it in her Internet article, “How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Marketing.” Her three suggestions: 1) Be unique and specific; 2) Make it easy to remember; 3) Use on multiple social media.
You can improve your metadata information, but it’s a detailed, ongoing task. What would you look for if you wanted to discover your book? Think creatively, think technically, and think metadata. Help to spread the word about the book you care about so much.