Ebook Metadata Explained

heart-metadataOur I_AM Self-Publishing geeks have emerged from their studio to give you the low-down on the murky subject of metadata.

What does it do? Ebook metadata is a kind of modern-day digital black magic. Metadata itself cannot be seen, but is ticking away in the background every time you run a search, whether you are looking something up on Google or browsing for specific products on a website. It is what determines which websites appear first on a Google search or which products come up higher than others on an Amazon search.

Where does it go? It is built in to the eBook files and it also goes into a separate file that is supplied directly to retailers alongside your book.

How many tags can you have? There is no limit to the number of metadata tags you can have built into an ePub file. However, Amazon stipulates a maximum of 7 tags for .mobi files.

So what exactly is it? Metadata is a list of tags that help search engines to file things. Metadata tells the search engine what the product or website is about. For example, if I was putting together the metadata for Pride & Prejudice I might choose terms such as: period drama, English nobility, Regency England, English literature, historical fiction, etc. This helps the retailer know where to “shelve” my book. Then, when a customer came on to a site searching for “Period drama” hopefully Pride & Prejudice would pop up.

If you have opted for the I_AM Professional package, we can of course help you come up with good metadata tags. We run searches on Amazon and Google as well as analysing current trends and forthcoming books and films that may appeal to potential readers of your book. Got a question about metadata? Contact us.

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is our editorial guru. From dialogue to story arcs, she has a passion for helping authors improve their writing. She enjoys long, hilly runs in the countryside and is currently window-shopping for a new puppy. Weapon of choice: A strong coffee and a red pen. Currently reading: A Brief History of Seven Killings.
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