Strong metadata is important when it comes to SEO and book sales on Amazon… But do you have to learn about it?
If you’re looking for free book marketing ideas, and the book promotion ideas you’ve tried in the past aren’t working, get back to basics. Your book’s metadata is the single most important element when it comes to selling more books on Amazon and elsewhere on the web.
The word can be intimidating to people who don’t work with it every day. Metadata. It sounds like a technological supervillain. But truly, if you’re an author, and especially if you’re an indie author, and if you’re looking for how to sell more books online, it’s basically your new best friend.
Psst… Bonus: It’s free. (Lovers of free stuff, click here.)
So, do you really have to learn about metadata? I have three different answers for you based on how your book is (or will be) published.
Traditionally published authors:
Yes, a little… At least learn the very basic of the basics.
If your book is published by a traditional publishing company, they’re most likely managing your book’s metadata for you. However, understanding the basics of what your metadata consists of, and what makes it strong or weak, is helpful in two ways.
One, you can offer suggestions (not demands–trust your publisher) for improvements.
And two, knowing the basics can help you to be more discerning before signing with a publisher in the future. Research how much attention they give to their books’ SEO and let that be a factor when you’re deciding whether or not to move forward with a particular publisher or imprint.
You may also be working with a publicist at some point through your publisher. Here are some tips on how make friends with your book publicist.
Authors with hybrid publishing:
Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
Hybrid publishing is so varied that it’s not possible to give a blanket answer here. There are so many ways to mix traditional publishing with indie publishing elements, and no two hybrid publishers are modeled the same.
Some hybrid publishers will put your book online and then not give you access to it to make changes. In other cases, you might have access to a couple descriptive fields, but maybe you can’t make changes to the book’s subcategory listings. Then some hybrid publishers give you access to most of the metadata that affects your book’s searchability and just may or may not have stressed to you that it’s something that requires your attention.
To decide whether or not you should start paying attention to metadata, make a list of any and all data fields you have access to via Amazon KDP, Ingram Lightning Source, or whatever other management tool your publisher uses.
Bottom line: The more control you have over your metadata, the more you ought to learn about it.
If you’re independently publishing your books, you and only you can influence your book’s SEO.
This doesn’t have to become another full-time job, but you should definitely keep it on your radar and begin to learn about metadata. If you’re a complete beginner, start here for now and click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ll update you with my newest posts on metadata and other book marketing goodies.
Curious how early in the process should you start thinking about marketing? Check out this post.
There’s more to come!
I’ve got plenty more great book marketing content planned for you for 2020, but I’d also love to know what questions you have about metadata, social media marketing, book publicity, and publishing in general.
Leave me a comment to let me know what you’d like to learn next!