This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
----------------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Sheet Name: Scribe Designer: Todd Dominey URL: domineydesign.com / whatdoiknow.org Date: 27 Feb 2004 ------------------------------------------------------ */ /* Defaults ----------------------------------------------- */ body { margin:0; padding:0; font-family: Georgia, Times, Times New Roman, sans-serif; font-size: small; text-align:center; color:#29303B; line-height:1.3; background:#483521 url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg.gif") repeat; } blockquote { font-style:italic; padding:0 32px; line-height:1.6; margin:0 0 .6em 0; } p {margin:0;padding:0}; abbr, acronym { cursor:help; font-style:normal; } code {font:12px monospace;white-space:normal;color:#666;} hr {display:none;} img {border:0;} /* Link styles */ a:link {color:#473624;text-decoration:underline;} a:visited {color:#716E6C;text-decoration:underline;} a:hover {color:#956839;text-decoration:underline;} a:active {color:#956839;} /* Layout ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #wrap { background-color:#473624; border-left:1px solid #332A24; border-right:1px solid #332A24; width:700px; margin:0 auto; padding:8px; text-align:center; } #main-top { width:700px; height:49px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_top.jpg") no-repeat top left; margin:0;padding:0; display:block; } #main-bot { width:700px; height:81px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_bot.jpg") no-repeat top left; margin:0; padding:0; display:block; } #main-content { width:700px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_mid.jpg") repeat-y; margin:0; text-align:left; display:block; } } @media handheld { #wrap { width:90%; } #main-top { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } #main-bot { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } #main-content { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } } #inner-wrap { padding:0 50px; } #blog-header { margin-bottom:12px; } #blog-header h1 { margin:0; padding:0 0 6px 0; font-size:225%; font-weight:normal; color:#612E00; } #blog-header h1 a:link { text-decoration:none; } #blog-header h1 a:visited { text-decoration:none; } #blog-header h1 a:hover { border:0; text-decoration:none; } #blog-header p { margin:0; padding:0; font-style:italic; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } div.clearer { clear:left; line-height:0; height:10px; margin-bottom:12px; _margin-top:-4px; /* IE Windows target */ background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat bottom left; } @media all { #main { width:430px; float:right; padding:8px 0; margin:0; } #sidebar { width:150px; float:left; padding:8px 0; margin:0; } } @media handheld { #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } #footer { clear:both; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat top left; padding-top:10px; _padding-top:6px; /* IE Windows target */ } #footer p { line-height:1.5em; font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:75%; } /* Typography :: Main entry ----------------------------------------------- */ h2.date-header { font-weight:normal; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; font-size:90%; margin:0; padding:0; } .post { margin:8px 0 24px 0; line-height:1.5em; } h3.post-title { font-weight:normal; font-size:140%; color:#1B0431; margin:0; padding:0; } .post-body p { margin:0 0 .6em 0; } .post-footer { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; color:#211104; font-size:74%; border-top:1px solid #BFB186; padding-top:6px; } .post ul { margin:0; padding:0; } .post li { line-height:1.5em; list-style:none; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/list_icon.gif") no-repeat 0px .3em; vertical-align:top; padding: 0 0 .6em 17px; margin:0; } /* Typography :: Sidebar ----------------------------------------------- */ h2.sidebar-title { font-weight:normal; font-size:120%; margin:0; padding:0; color:#211104; } h2.sidebar-title img { margin-bottom:-4px; } #sidebar ul { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:86%; margin:6px 0 12px 0; padding:0; } #sidebar ul li { list-style: none; padding-bottom:6px; margin:0; } #sidebar p { font-family:Verdana,sans-serif; font-size:86%; margin:0 0 .6em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments {} #comments h4 { font-weight:normal; font-size:120%; color:#29303B; margin:0; padding:0; } #comments-block { line-height:1.5em; } .comment-poster { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/list_icon.gif") no-repeat 2px .35em; margin:.5em 0 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { font-size:100%; margin:0 0 .2em 0; } .comment-timestamp { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; color:#29303B; font-size:74%; margin:0 0 10px; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#473624; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:visited { color:#716E6C; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:hover { color:#956839; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:active { color:#956839; text-decoration:none; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin-top:12px; padding-top:12px; height:auto; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat top left; } .profile-datablock { margin:0 0 4px 0; } .profile-data { display:inline; margin:0; padding:0 8px 0 0; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; font-size:90%; color:#211104; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 8px 0 0; border:1px solid #A2907D; padding:2px; } .profile-textblock { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif;font-size:86%;margin:0;padding:0; } .profile-link { margin-top:5px; font-family:Verdana,sans-serif; font-size:86%; } /* Post photos ----------------------------------------------- */ img.post-photo { border:1px solid #A2907D; padding:4px; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding:0 0 12px 20px; }

Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, August 25, 2013

METADATA 101: A Non-Techie Does Her Best to Explain Metadata (and Why it Matters) In Plain English

by Ruth Harris

First of all, what the &%^# is metadata? AccordIng to Wikipedia, it’s “data about data.” But we’re writers and we’re talking about books, so, huh?

Let me try again: when it comes to a book, metadata can be defined both by what it is and what it isn’t. Metadata’s everything in a file that’s not included between the first word and the last word of your book. Which leaves us, well, exactly what?

Essentially, for a writer, metadata is everything except the book we include when we upload a book: cover, title, author’s name, series name (if the book is part of a series), categories, keywords, blurb, ISBN, reviews, author bio.

Metadata also includes front matter and back matter and tells a reader what s/he wants to know before deciding to buy (or not to buy) your book. Metadata matters (a lot) and here are some reasons why, starting with the front matter (everything the reader sees that comes before the actual beginning of the book):

The cover is the writer’s first sell opportunity and the reader’s first clue to genre. A naked male torso avec bulging six-pack promises the reader hot s-e-x and maybe romance. A fanged death’s head drooling pus and blood means horror. Be creative but don’t mislead your reader! Book designer, Joel Friedlander, often blogs about covers here.

The title (and the series title, if there is one) is another crucial signal, so choose wisely. You wouldn’t call a sweet romance set in a sleepy Southern village Night Of the Psychotic Avenger, would you? You wouldn’t call a dystopian urban zombie thriller Aunt Matilda’s Ye Olde Knitting And Crochet Shoppe, would you? And Adventures of a Girl is hopeless: too generic, tells the reader nothing. Bottom line: choose your title carefully. Leading a reader astray or leaving him/her to wonder what the book is about isn’t good for you, your sales—or for your reader.

The author’s name is your brand so respect it. If the author name is a pseudonym, though, match the name with your genre. “Studly McBoozehound” might be an OK choice if you’re writing brass-knuckled noirpulp. It would be a lousy choice if you’re writing swoony 18th Century historical romance set in the Scottish Highlands. Capeesh?

The blurb or, as Amazon refers to it, the Product Description, is your opportunity to tell the readers why s/he absolutely must buy your book. Your blurb needs to pop and sizzle and compel the reader to hit the buy button. After the purchase, when your book is already present on someone’s ereader, placing the blurb in the front matter will remind the reader why s/he bought the book in the first place.

Writing a powerful blurb is both an art and a craft. Superstar indie author, Mark Edwards, gives advice on how to write a compelling blurb here.

The Invisibles (to the reader but not to search engines.)

The ISBN (or ASIN) is the alpha-numeric string (ZZ12345) that identifies your book to readers and book-sellers. ISBNs can be purchased from Bowker; the ASIN is the FREE number assigned by Amazon. Kobo and Apple also offer their own FREE identifiers when you upload your book.

There is disagreement about whether it’s worth buying your own ISBN or not. Some think buying your own ISBN is worthwhile. Others think it doesn’t much matter. Joel Friedlander discusses the pros and cons of the different flavors of ISBNs/ASINs here.

Keyword and keyword strategy. Although the reader doesn’t see keywords, they are crucial to discoverability and visibility.

Joanna Penn writes about the importance of keywords and explains the techniques for finding ones that will work best for you. She uses specific examples using one of her own books here.

Lisa Grace, mystery author, goes into the mysteries (sorry, couldn’t help it) of SEO and keywords here and Christopher Shevlin tells how he used keywords to bring his book back from the dead and turn it into a best seller here.

Category tells where a book would be shelved in a bookstore. No one will find your sci-fi epic if it’s shelved with gardening manuals so choose your categories (Amazon allows two; Nook permits five; Kobo and Apple also permit multiple choices.) carefully.

M. Louisa Locke blogs about the importance of choosing categories (and keywords) here and FreelanceSwitch offers a detailed tutorial about category-choosing here.

Amazon provides overall metadata guidelines here, and lists required keywords for certain categories (romance, sci/fi, YA, thriller, mystery, suspense) here.

Back matter (the last pages the reader sees & another chance to sell—but be careful.)

Possibilities for back matter:
  • Mail list sign up. 
  • Request for a review. 
  • Links to your other books. 
  • Link to your blog/website. 
  • Excerpt from another book. 
  • Copyright. 
  • Acknowledgments.
Some advise that back matter should be no more than 5% of the entire length. Readers can feel cheated if they get to 55% of a file (the end of your story) only to find that another 45% is devoted to sales pitches! Obviously, a full-length novel will allow you more back matter space. A short story, less.

The savvy authors on the KB Writers’ Cafe share their thoughts about back matter (they don’t always agree about everything) here. Writers share examples of different approaches to back matter here. Another discussion of front matter and back matter and what information should go where is here.

From the first word of your title to the last period at the end of the last sentence in your back matter, metadata matters because metadata is one of the most important ways readers can find (and buy) your book. Ignore it at your peril!

Book Deals of the Week. 
We have two hilarious comedies this week.

The Chanel Caper by Ruth Harris is $3.99 on Amazon USAmazon UK
And Nook | Kobo | iBooks

Award-winning historical romance and USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance winner, Vanessa Kelly's take on The Chanel Caper in Love Rocks:

"Set primarily in the world of fashion and advertising in New York City, THE CHANEL CAPER features a fifty-six year old heroine who is smart, sardonic, and whose marriage to her sexy, ex-cop husband has hit a rough patch. Blake Weston makes for a fabulous heroine, watching in some bemusement as her husband Ralph, now head of security for a large international corporation, goes into mid-life crisis. For Ralph, this involves extreme workouts in an effort to recapture his youthful vigor, a new wardrobe, and a flirtation with a bombshell war correspondent doing everything she can to get Ralph between the sheets. Blake, naturally, has no intention of allowing her beloved husband of twenty-five years to slip away from her.

"In an ongoing effort to upmarket her own outdated style and rekindle some romance in her marriage, Blake buys a faux Chanel handbag from a street vendor. This sets off a chain of wild events that includes murder, explosions, counterfeit drug rings, and the pursuit of suspects and warlords from Shanghai to Afghanistan. The Chanel Caper is a romantic comedy, a thriller, and a send-up of the big city lifestyle in the wake of the global financial crisis. All the disparate elements of this very funny story are tethered by the engaging Blake, a smart, sensible, and dryly witty heroine intent on saving her marriage. It’s definitely a romance for the grownups, set against the backdrop of the bright lights of the city that never sleeps."...Vanessa Kelley, award winning Romance author

Plus Anne's fourth Camilla Mystery, No Place Like Home 
is 99c for two weeks only on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA etc.

It's #4 in the series, but reads as a stand-alone.

"Under the guise of a great beach read - and no doubt it is that too, full of suspense and pleasingly written, the words keep flowing naturally, effortlessly and you keep turning the pages, eager to find out what happens next - this is a book that in fact delivers far more. 

It explores what is behind our love for our home, our need for security and what happens to us when we lose it all. It raises some serious existential questions as age inexorably erodes the looks of one successful woman (Doria)and the recent economic recession that has affected us all destroys the livelihood of a woman who thought she had finally pulled it all together and resolved her problems (Camilla). The contrast between the two is intriguing and also raises more questions...

But don't get me wrong. This is a book that is high comedy, not deep philosophy...Happy reading and expect some unusual twists and turns!"...Claude Nougat, author of a A Hook in the Sky

Opportunity Alerts

1) Quirk Books "Looking for Love" contest. They offer a $10,000 prize for the best quirky love story of 50,000 words or more. Visit the Quirk Books website to download the entry form or for further information. Quirk Books was founded in 2002 and publishes around 25 books each year. Their bestselling titles include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Entries close October 1. 

2) Get your book international visibility for a reasonable price. EBUK is now advertising bargain books to close to a dozen countries, including the US and Canada, and they're still at half price through the end of August. You can get more info here. Make sure your book is under $3.99 and provide links to all stores, not not only Amazon (unless you're in Select.) Ads are a little over 10 bucks until the end of August. And you can sign up for the newsletter for your country right here. I've signed up for the new US version. If you like bargain ebooks, this is a great free service.

3) Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards. Since most short fiction contests tend to favor literary work, this is a great one for genre authors. Choose your favorite genre and enter your best in 4,000 words or less. Six first prizes of $500 each and a Grand Prize of $2,500 and a trip to the 2013 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. Deadline September 16th

4) The Harper's Bazaar UK Short Story Prize is open to all writers. NO ENTRY FEE. Are you the next Dorothy Parker or Anita Loos? Submit an original short story (up to 3,000 words) on the subject of 'spring' to:shortstory@harpersbazaar.co.uk. The winning entry will appear in the May 2014 issue. Its author will be able to choose a first-edition book from Asprey's Fine and Rare Books Department to the value of £3,000 and enjoy a week-long retreat at Eilean Shona House, on the 2,000-acre private island off the west coast of Scotland where JM Barrie wrote his screenplay for Peter Pan. Deadline December 13th.

5) BARTLEBY SNOPES WRITING CONTEST - Can you write a story that's dialog only? $10 ENTRY FEE A minimum of $300 will be awarded, with at least $250 going to  first place and at least $10 to four honorable mentions. 5 finalists will also appear in Issue 11 of the magazine due out in January 2014. Last year they awarded $585 in prize money. For every entry over 25, an additional $5 will be awarded to the first place story. Compose a short story entirely of dialogue. You may use as many characters as you want. Your entry must be under 2,000 words. Your entry does not have to follow standard rules for writing dialogue. Your entry cannot use any narration (this includes tag lines such as he said, she said, etc.) Deadline September 15th 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As part of my job includes some website design, I agree - metadata is crucial, especially for exposure.
My publisher places my bio and website in the back - I guess that would be good back matter material?

August 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Lexa Cain said...

I had no idea what metadata was or how important it was to my book. I'm so glad I have a publisher to do that for me. Thanks for the easy-to-understand post about metadata, the links to your (and Anne's) book sales, and publishing venues. :-)

August 25, 2013 at 11:11 AM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Now that I know what metadata is--thanks so much Ruth--I realize this is something that my publisher routinely helps us with. We fill out blurb and cover sheets once we receive a contract for a book and they provide prompts, hints, etc. that cover all of the bases you mentioned in your post: different length blurbs; key words; book categories; cover ideas, etc. I knew I was lucky with JMS Books but now I realize her writers get all the guidance they need for metadata. We even get ISBN numbers.Thanks for this great post, Ruth.

August 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

Putting the "product description" in the front matter is a good idea, as so many people buy books and more books, and by the time they get around to reading yours, they forget what it's about.

Great post, Ruth. Thanks for all the invaluable info.

August 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Alex—Definitely. Bio, link to your website, maybe a request for a review or links to your other books would all go into back matter. Just don't let your back matter run on too long—you don't want to aggravate your readers!

Lexa—Thank you! Actually, once you break down the different elements of metadata, it's not all that mysterious. Still, if your publisher does a good job for you, there's no reason to take on the job yourself.

Paul—So now the veil has been lifted and you know why JMS asks for all that info! Now your readers know who you are, what you've written and your books are shelved correctly. + isbn numbers! What's not to like? :-)

Anne—Thanks for the kind words and I couldn't agree more. I buy lots of books and by the time I get to a title I purchased a while ago, having that reminder up front is a major help as I decide what to read next.

August 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Soooo helpful! Bookmarking this one. Thanks

August 25, 2013 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger aman kesherwani said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 26, 2013 at 1:59 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Julie—Thanks. Glad it helped!

August 26, 2013 at 5:35 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

I don't usually comment when you have the helm, Ruth, because your weeks give me a nice time out for working on the old WIP.

But I have to say you really went above and beyond with this post. Your research is fantastic. So many questions answered. Thanks for working so hard for us on this "nuts and bolts" stuff most of us find so daunting. (At least I do.) Great post!

August 26, 2013 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Christine Ahern said...

Great information, Ruth. So helpful. I think I might have missed the mark with my title AND cover with my first e-book. Oh well...we learn, yes we do!

August 26, 2013 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Anne—Thanks! As with so many things that seem daunting at first, once you break it down, it turns out not to be all that big a deal. One of those deals where my conclusion is if I can figure it out, so can anyone.

Christine—Glad it helped! And, yes we do. Our mistakes are our best teachers!

August 26, 2013 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Trekelny said...

Ms. Harris- your post is so useful and fun to read, I had to look to be sure it wasn't another one of Anne's!

I appreciate all this advice, a very widely useful piece. I paid particular attention to the ISBN section and I must say, I'm still immune to understanding why a self-pub e-pub indie like myself would ever need to buy one. Smashwords is my home base, I'm not ashamed to say it- and I just don't understand what folks are saying about "control" with other routes. If I were a publisher, I guess I could see it- but I cannot understand "why pay" for a number I could not recall with a gun to my head. Quick, what was the ISBN for Fellowship of the Ring- you know?

August 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Trekelny—Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed your trip through the wilds of MetaData!

August 26, 2013 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Beth Havey@Boomer Highway said...

Thanks so much. There's an incredible amount of information here and all of it important.

August 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

Great information here and broken down so clearly. Thank you for doing the hard work for us. Worth bookmarking.

August 26, 2013 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Beth—Thank *you*! :-)

Julie—Glad I was able to help clarify & thanks for the bookmark!

August 27, 2013 at 4:10 AM  
Blogger M.L. Swift said...

Goodness gracious, such an informative post! You've given so many good pointers and things to consider, I have to bookmark this to refer to later. Each one is a jewel.

And then there's the contest information. One stop shopping!

Thanks, Ruth. And hey, Anne.

M.L. Swift, Writer

August 29, 2013 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

ML—Jewels?! Wow, thanks for the flattering words. Much appreciated!

August 30, 2013 at 5:25 AM  
Blogger Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

Thanks so much for the info you post on this blog. So helpful to a newbie beginner. I've marked several of your posts for future reference.

August 30, 2013 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

HM,CW—Thanks for letting us know you find our posts useful. Anne and I appreciate your kind words!

August 31, 2013 at 5:06 AM  
Blogger Debby Gies said...

Love, love this blog! Always insightful with a bit of added entertainment. I can't wait to get to my newly purchased 'How to be a Writer...; and Sherwood Ltd.

September 1, 2013 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Debby—Thank you! Anne and I appreciate your flattering words. You'll love How To Be and Sherwood!

September 2, 2013 at 4:19 AM  
Blogger Sara Taylor said...

Thank you for doing the hard work for us.
web design Dubai

September 4, 2013 at 3:47 AM  

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home