Authors wondering how to market books on Amazon and across the web usually overlook the very most important thing: strong metadata. Even authors who are familiar with metadata often don’t know what to do with it. This is especially detrimental to book sales for indie authors, who generally manage their book’s metadata on their own.
Authors wondering how to market books on Amazon and across the web usually overlook the very most important thing: strong metadata.Tweet your peeps!
I talk a lot about metadata but sometimes I think it helps to have fuller examples. So welcome to my first installment of a new regular column called Metadata Review! Periodically, I’ll be selecting a title and reviewing its metadata so you can learn the good and the bad through practical examples. I’m going to base my entire metadata review on how the book appears on Amazon, not elsewhere on the web, because this is where the bulk of online book sales are. All book metadata should be custom-tailored for Amazon.
Today, I’m reviewing the metadata for the book The Memo by Minda Harts and Seal Press. I recently wrote a classic book review of The Memo for New York Journal of Books so it’s in my recent memory, and it’s a great choice to kick off this new column.
The Good Stuff
First things first: Book covers are visual metadata element number one. I recently wrote a post about some common book cover mistakes and how to fix them. This book didn’t make any of those mistakes. The book cover is gorgeous, and the title is clearly visible as a thumbnail. Check!
Having a bolded line at the top of the book description is key, and the fact that it name drops Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In as a comparison is fantastic, both for SEO and for catching the eye once shoppers land on the page.
Having a bolded line at the top of your book description is key.Tweet your peeps!
There are tons of other well-chosen keywords towards the top of the book description, as well. This is where you want them for good SEO.
The review quotes section looks amazing. It’s full and, with only a couple very fixable, minor formatting issues, looks tidy and is easy to read.
Although I can’t see the back-end metadata to know exactly which subcategories/BISACs are selected for this book, I can see the surface effects. This book’s top-ranked subcategories are excellent. They’re appropriate choices, and the book is ranked well in all of them.
How to Make the Book Metadata Stronger
If I were to pick only two items to change in The Memo‘s on-screen metadata, I’d add a border to the main image, and I’d add bullet points to the description.
I recently wrote a post about some common book cover mistakes and how to fix them. This book does make one of those mistakes! On the book’s sales page, there’s a shadow feature added to the book cover image. This helps it stand out against Amazon’s all-white background.
However, when books appear in search results, there is no added border. Therefore a book like The Memo, which has a lot of white or light colors around the edges, doesn’t stand out well from that background.
In search results, books are always in direct visual competition with the books listed above and below them. If your metadata is strong, your book will appear towards the top of results… But if it’s hiding against the background, Amazon shoppers won’t be as likely to click on it. Instead, their eyes will be drawn towards books that pop out to them or appear to be physically closer.
So for The Memo, I would add a thin, darker border to the image of the book cover that I upload here.
Another thing I’d do for The Memo‘s metadata is add bullet points to the book description. This description reads well and is generally strong, metadata-wise, but it’s missing the perfect opportunity for bullet points.
The Memo is a book full of tips and advice. Nonfiction books in general often have different types of information that can easily be formed into lists. I suggest doing this whenever possible.
Seeing a list in your book description will make Amazon shoppers more likely to think of your book as having quantifiable value.Tweet your peeps!
Lists won’t exactly affect your book’s searchability, but what they do is help convert page views to sales. People love lists. They love numbers. Seeing a list in your description, even if they don’t read it, will make shoppers more likely to think of your book as having quantifiable value. Therefore, they’re more likely to decide to make the purchase.
Overall, this is high quality metadata and an example to follow. I can’t cover every single aspect of the metadata here, so I’ve chosen a handful of items that stood out to me.
I hope this has been helpful to you! If you’re liking this new column and want to stay informed when I drop the next one, sign up for my newsletter. I’ve got some more interesting choices coming up, and you won’t want to miss them.
Are there specific types of books you’d like to see me review? Leave a comment!