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To many writers, the term “metadata” seems cold and technical: an impersonal term for impersonal data. This perception leads some ebook authors to believe that metadata has no place in their book blurb, because their summary paragraph must hook a reader emotionally.
The reality, however, is that your book blurb needs to include both metadata and enticing, descriptive language—and there’s an art to weaving metadata into the marketing description of your book.
First, a few definitions. Metadata is the information used to categorize books in databases. In online stores, when shoppers type in keywords, a search engine crawls through the metadata of every ebook and serves up results based on the best matches. When authors upload ebooks into the backend of online bookstores, they’re prompted to enter some metadata.
But the book blurb can contain metadata, too. And if your blurb is missing three key pieces of metadata, you could be losing sales.
A book blurb is the term we use for the short summary paragraph that describes your book. This paragraph used to live on the dust jacket of a book, but now that paragraph is most often found on the online sales page of digital bookstores.
When writing your book blurb, you’ll be able to seamlessly weave in metadata if you follow these guidelines about three key pieces of metadata:
1. Add All Authors’ Names to Your Blurb
It may seem unnecessary to include all the authors’ name in the description of the book. After all, they’re already on the book cover and listed at the top of the book’s sales page. And if your book has a few co-authors, the names take up a fair amount of room. But the reality is, your book blurb needs all authors’ names. The authors’ names are some of the most important keywords of a book, so including them in the blurb will increase the chances of your book being picked up by the search algorithms that crawl the web and online bookstore.
If you’re an author and your name’s not already in your blurb, rework it to make your name appear as a natural part of the description. The blurb for the book in the example below is short and sweet. Both authors’ names appear in a smooth, natural flow:
Writing in a Convertible with the Top Down: A fun and practical guide to writing that will help your writing process be as breezy as driving in a convertible on a summer’s day. The authors’ prompts and personal insights will shift you into creative gear so you can speed successfully on your way to authentic writing. Sheila Bender and Christi Killien Glover offer the right roadmaps for helping you become the writer you know you can be. It’s time to go for the green lights in your writing journey.
2. Include Series Information in Your Blurb
Authors of series know that when a reader likes one book, they’re likely to purchase another. So if you book is part of a series, be sure to include this information in your blurb. Name the series, the book title and its position in the series—is it book two of three? Book four of five? That way, all your books are more likely to appear in search results. The exposure can be valuable in leading to multiple sales, if not at the time of the original query, then perhaps later when the reader has completed the first book.
The example below is the blurb for the fourth book in a series of supernatural romances for young adults. Its place in the series is clear in the description, then for good measure, repeated at the end.
In The Lamenting, Emme and her friends Jack, Ollie, Bets and Charlie are Spirit Warriors—teenagers who merge with spirit animals to fight the evil Machayiwiw, who’s brought tragedy to their families for generations. At the opening of Book Four of the Spirit Warriors series, we find Emme reeling from dehydration and hypothermia while Charlie recovers from a stab wound to the heart. The friends vow to use their special abilities to conquer the Machayiwiw once and for all. Emme musters the courage to instigate a battle, but what she thinks will be a clean solution spirals out of control. Charlie has become more grizzly bear than human and his rage results in a canyon full of dead poachers while the Machayiwiw flees yet again. As the friends struggle to bring Charlie back from the wild, Emme realizes it’s Jack who she’s loved all along. Threats and perils escalate along with Emme’s romance. In this story of suspense, tenderness and tragedy, the friends, in both their animal and human forms, face the ultimate question: What are they willing to sacrifice to save one another? This is book 4 of a 5 book series.
3. Be Generous with Keywords in Your Blurb
It’s worth spending a little time brainstorming keywords for your book. The best way to do this is to take off your author hat and put on your reader glasses. Imagine you are a member of your book’s target audience… and you have no idea the book you’ve written exists. What words would this person type into a search engine? Be creative and don’t use industry jargon. For example, if you’re a dentist who’s written a book, think about the words consumers might use. They’d probably type in “rotten teeth” instead of “oral hygiene.”
Once you’ve come up with your list of keywords, don’t be shy about repeating them, with a light touch, in your blurb. The example below is a blurb about a financial planning book. “Retirement” is a key word. It’s repeated in this blurb five times, but it doesn’t feel heavy-handed. Another technique is to list keywords at the end so the algorithm can pick them up and readers can quickly skim to see if the content they’re looking for is included in your book.
Do you want to transition from career to retirement, but aren’t sure how to make it work? Sound Retirement Planning offers the answers you’re looking for. Respected Financial Adviser Jason Parker offers steps to help you move from career to retirement with clarity, confidence and freedom. With straightforward advice, Parker helps you plan a retirement based on what’s important to you — your personal values, your relationships, as well as your financial goals. This book helps you:
– Focus your retirement planning on what is most important to you
– Outpace inflation
– Provide income for life
– Reduce stock market volatility
– Protect against an unforeseen health care event
– Maximize your Social Security income
– Make sure your money lasts as long as you do
– Get your legal documents in order
– Tax planning tips
– Maximize your cash flow
– Reduce your fees
– Diversify your accounts to adjust to this new economy
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