Book metadata is essential embedded information about your book from basics like title, author, ISBN, publisher, genre, and price, to more detailed information like author bio, book cover, book description, quotes, target audience, and reviews, which allows both readers and retailers alike, to categorize and find your book.
The genre, book description, and author bio are important elements of a book's metadata that can sometimes go overlooked. Most readers find their next book online rather than browsing in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Think of the genre as the section of the bookstore where someone might find your book, and the book description and the author bio as the back cover blurb and "About the author" of your book that someone might examine if they were trying to decide whether to purchase your book in a bookstore.
Categorizing a book under the correct genre is critical to a book's success. For example, let’s say you’ve written a book that is heartfelt and dramatic, so you select “drama” as a category. Sounds good, except that retailers and bookstores use the word “drama” to categorize plays — such as Shakespeare and Arthur Miller — so that might not be the accurate category for your novel.
Or, let’s say you’ve written a children’s book, and you think “education” makes a great descriptor. But a parent searching for a Christmas gift for an eight-year-old might just look up “children’s books” — and while children’s books can be educational, it depends on who your audience is. “Education” might be better directed at a school teacher looking for educational tools.
When distributing your book with BookBaby, we ask you to provide a short description and a long description for your book. We ask for both because we work with many distribution partners and they each have their own restrictions to metadata. We send the same information to all of our partners, so in order to take advantage of their different descriptions, we offer our authors description fields for both. The difference is in length only, so if you have a long description that fits in the short description field, you can feel free to use that for both. Regardless, your book's short and long descriptions should both be well-written, concise, and compelling in order to draw readers to your book. It's true that people judge a book by its cover, but they also determine whether or not to purchase a book based on its metadata. If a reader sees a huge wall of text detailing every single thing that happens in your book, they might get overwhelmed and choose not to purchase. But if you tease your reader with too little, they might not know what’s going on in the story and whether they want to purchase the book.
If you are taking advantage of our Ads for Authors program, and you are running an ad with BookBaby, then you should make sure that your book metadata is the best it can be. Why? Because getting someone to click on your book's ad is only half the battle. Once they land on your book's sale page, that reader will review your metadata before deciding to make a purchase of your book. If your metadata is well-constructed, then it is far more likely that your ad will help drive sales of your book.
The good news is that BookBaby offers a service called metadata optimization, where our distribution experts will make adjustments to your supplied metadata to increase your book's marketability and findability online.