With just a few steps, you can boost number of readers! Well-thought-out metadata makes your book easier to find and can thus give you better sales figures. What does metadata mean, and how can it be improved?

Metadata means data about data. It is essential to specify the correct properties, which are then passed on to the reader by distributors, retailers, and librarians. Metadata in the book industry is data that informs about, among other things like book title, subtitle, author, book description, cover, format, price, ISBN, keywords and directory information.

This is the basic information needed about the book to list or catalog it with, for example, Amazon and other online bookstores. You need to provide a complete picture of the book’s content. The more elaborate and complete it is, the better the sales success you will have.

We will explain in detail what metadata means and give you some tips on how to improve it so that more readers buy your book!


It is essential to understand how the reader thinks. What criteria the reader look for, how can you choose your metadata and how to appeal to the reader?

To avoid problems with the various online bookstores and physical bookstores, the metadata must follow specific rules and guidelines:

1. Books have ONE title

Think carefully about your book title. Try to make it appealing and unique! We recommend that you search for the title in various online bookstores, to ensure that it is not already taken. Your title should reflect the book’s content and genre. If a book is titled “The Fairy of the Wonderful Rabbit” you quickly understand that it is a children’s book. The title along with other metadata and the cover form the book’s business card. Therefore, it is important that the title addresses your target reader audience.

2. Books can also have ONE subtitle

It can make a difference if you also have a good subtitle. It can clarify contents, supplement the title, or explain the book’s genre. The title may be “An Unexpected Meeting” and the subtitle “A True Love Novel”. In this case, the title of the book does not explain much about the genre of the book, but the subtitle does. This way, the reader can easily find the type of genre or book they are looking for. Also, try searching the subtitle of your book and see which books are visible at the online booksellers. What place in the list of books does the subtitle have? You could also inspire a little on the books that are best-sellers or high up on your search lists.

3. Books always have at least one, author or publisher

You can have one or more authors or publishers, or both. This information should never be omitted. It is important to put a first and last name. If you do not, your book may not be found anywhere, as it has an impact on online bookstore algorithms.

Online bookstore algorithms consist of instructions on what to do, with what and in what order by using metadata information. Many readers only search for the author or publisher’s name. You can, of course, also publish your book under a pen name instead of your name. 

4. Is your book included in a series?

If your book is part of a series, you should include the series name. Remember that the books should be numbered and that each book should have its own title. The series name can be part of the book’s title. The book’s cover design should have a similar theme so that the books are recognized in the same series. When specifying the book’s category, all the books in the same series should have same category.

5. The book’s description

As an author, you want the reader to get stuck reading your book. If the cover has convinced the buyer, then it is the book’s description or book description that should lead to the purchase. Therefore, it is incredibly important to have a good and attractive description that makes the book interesting without revealing too much.

Each book needs a description that informs the reader about the story. The text must be flawless, match your title, and awaken the desire to read the book. The book’s description may also contain some of the keywords that you have chosen for your metadata.

6. Author presentation

The first thing many of us do when we hold a book in our hands is to turn it over and read the back cover. We read about what the book is about, and we are also curious about who the author is.

If we are looking for a book in an online bookstore, we want to read about the author there as well. Therefore, even a professional author presentation is an important part of your metadata.

7. Item group & theme

A product group consists of one subject category (e.g. “art: general” which belongs to the subject area “specialist book”) and up to three additional categories that provide additional information (e.g. “Art deco” as style). In some cases, specific combinations of subject categories and supplementary categories need to be selected (e.g., an age group for children’s and youth books).

Use the option to select multiple product groups if your book fits into more than one product group. In such cases, however, the following applies: The product group must be as clearly defined as possible but at the same time as general as is necessary. In many cases, it may be worthwhile to select only one product group to optimize visibility. The clearer the book’s product group is defined, the easier it is for readers to find your book.

8. Keywords

A change of perspective can do wonders. Get into the shoes of a reader who wants to buy a new book. In which online book stores and in which category would you search for the book? What keywords would you enter, and how many books do you see? Do you think many other readers are searching for the same keyword?

We recommend you do your keyword research. Choose some online bookstores such as Amazon, etc. (Remember to use your browser’s incognito mode when doing a keyword search and logging out of your accounts! Otherwise, your previous keywords will often automatically appear and results shall be personalized, you don’t want that).

Now enter keywords in the search field as if you were looking for a book like yours. What keywords does the e-commerce store suggest? Is your first thought correct? In that case, many others are probably looking for a book similar to yours using this keyword. Then this keyword generates high visibility for your title.

Next, pay attention to how many books you see in this search. Is it several thousand? Then the book will probably fall far down the list. Are there just a few dozen? Perfect! Then this keyword is often used, but your book will still be visible. Exactly this keyword should also be included in your metadata! The purpose of the keywords is to help readers find your book while searching.

Do you know you can find relevant, high volume keywords that readers use to find books like yours very easily?

9. Book cover

The impact of the cover on potential readers is enormous. If the book’s cover convinces the reader both aesthetically and thematically, it arouses interest in wanting to read on the back of the book, either in the bookstore or with the help of a click in the online bookstore.

The cover should represent the book’s content, showcase the book’s genre, and quickly capture the buyer’s attention. A book cover may very well be made by yourself, as long as it looks professional it is ok. If you want to be on the safe side, hire a graphic designer to design your own and personal cover. 

10. Price

Of course, the price also plays a role. And there is no set rule. Try to understand what your target group may be willing to pay for your book. Every book has a price, but which is the right one? You can compare the prices of similar books within your genre. You can get very good insights on what is the proper price readers are ready to pay using this free to try tool.

Best, Melissa



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