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Why Metadata Helps Readers Discover Your Book

Memorable launch party

Knowing the definition of metadata is far less important than understanding why metadata helps readers discover your book. But here it is anyway…

“Metadata is a set of data that describes and gives information about other data.”

The purpose of metadata is to help users find relevant information and discover resources easier and quicker. In the book industry, metadata is used to provide descriptive information about a book and help readers discover your book.

It is important to have accurate and descriptive information (metadata) about your book listed when your book is published. If you are self-publishing, the printer or self-publisher will require this information to be filled out before the book is available for distribution. Here is the information typically requested and some tips to better understand it.


Help readers discover your book

Book Title- (required)

Subtitle- (optional)

TIP: Use the title and a subtitle that best describes what the book is about.  Use a relevant keyword/keyword phrase in the title and or subtitle. To make the title more searchable, consider combining the two when listing it online.


Short Description- (required) apx. 350 characters

TIP: Think of the book description as an advertisement. It should be written to get readers to buy your book. Use keywords/keyword phrases especially in the first sentence.

Key Words-(optional) (Single words or short phrases that describe your book and help improve search results. Separate each keyword by commas.)

TIP: Start off with your most relevant keyword and add as many as you are allowed. To assist you in choosing your keywords, look online to see how they rank.

Series Name and Number- (optional)

Edition Number- (optional) (If this is a new work, leave blank. If you have made substantive changes to the original work such as adding a new preface, for example, you would type in, “revised with the new preface”)

Long Description- (required) min 200 max 4000 characters

TIP: Grab the reader from the first sentence and give them to reason to read the rest of the description. Create an emotional connection by describing how the reader will feel or what they will learn from reading the book. Use keywords/keyword phrases especially in the first sentence.

Book Contributor- Author (required)

Author bio- (optional)

TIP: Write a bio in the 3rd person. For more information on proper Tips for Writing an Author Bio.


Bio of Illustrator-

Editor- (optional)

Bio of Editor-

Other- (optional)


BISAC Codes- (1-3) (required) BISAC Codes categorize your title into preset subjects and are highly recommended to use with all distributors. For a listing of all the codes. List out the top 3 codes in order of importance/relevance.

TIP: It’s important to take your time and choose the best codes available the first time to help readers discover your book. If you are unsure which codes are best, feel free to ask a professional or search online for help. Even though codes can be changed, it is difficult to do so, especially with the first and primary code.

Audience- (Choose One) Juvenile (Child 0-12), Young Adult (Children 13-18), Professional/Scholar (Adult), Trade/General (Adult), Elementary/High School (Textbook)

Age Range- (For Juvenile (Child 0-12) and Young Adult (Children 13-18 only)

Grade Range- (For Juvenile Child 0-12) and Young Adult (Children 13-18 only)

TIP: Not all metadata includes the ranges, but the more specific you are the better.

[lyte id=“_qQngLosYVW8” /]

Table of Contents- (optional) (Useful for non-fiction or academic works where the Table of Contents provides insight into the subject matter of the book)

Review Quotes-(optional) (Provide any pre or post-publication reviews. For lengthy reviews, provide phrases or excerpts from the review itself.)

TIP: It is beneficial to get reviews for your book even before it’s released. Reviews help readers decide on purchasing the book once readers discover your book. For more information, read our blog on Why Authors Should Focus on Book Reviews.

Editorial Reviews- (optional)(1-3) List them here if you have any editorial reviews.

Illustrations- (optional) Yes/No How many?

Trim Size- (required) (height x width x depth)

Interior Color-(required)

(Black & White or Color)

Binding Type-(required)

(Paperback or Hardcover)

Page Count-(required)


Publication Date- (required) (the date that the book is available to stores, online retailers, and libraries)

Available Date- (required)(is the date that the book is available to purchase)

Pricing- in U.S.$- (required)

Submitting this information properly and thoroughly will allow your book to be searchable throughout the world. Rest easy knowing that the time and effort you put into your metadata will increase sales, especially if you have a book marketing strategy in place. Choose a strategy that will increase your followers and create content to be enjoyed and by your growing target audience. Book sales will follow. Please comment and share this article with other authors.


Rick Lite of Stress Free Book Marketing, stands at the forefront of the ever-changing book industry. He is a seasoned book marketing professional with over 13 years of experience in the industry. Rick’s expertise comes from tirelessly working on new and innovative ways to market his own books and CDs with his company and parent company, Stress Free Kids. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Rick works closely with authors to create custom, robust book marketing programs. His easy-going manner provides “stress-free” support and comfort to authors going through the book marketing process for the first time. Rick is quick to share his knowledge and “insider tips” for a successful marketing campaign that will lead to increased exposure, awareness and most importantly, sales.

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