Metadata vs. Zombies: A Love Story and Weight Loss Guide

Readers are smart. They aren’t mindless drooling zombies driven by keyword searches. And yet ebook metadata sometimes assumes a startling lack of reader judgment.

“Meta what?” you ask. Metadata is data about data. In ebook terms it comprises your title, subtitle, author name, category, etc. For those of you who remember the 1900s, metadata would be the cards in a card catalog. When eBook buyers search for something to read, it’s your metadata that they find.

Let’s take a look at an example of terrible metadata. Imagine putting this in your title field:

“My Journey to Self Fulfillment and Profit Relationship Singles Conspiracy Diet Recipe free Coupons Weight Loss (A Book About Moving to The Beach and Learning to love titled “Love on the Coast” – You Can Get Healthy. Vampires.)”

Let’s ignore the obvious issue of length for now and talk about the content of this title. What exactly is it describing? No idea. Were I a mindless keyword zombie, I might zero in on “Weight Loss” and decide to lose a few pounds. But, brains intact, I’m not about to slap down my hard earned cash for the eBook equivalent of spam. Readers are more than their searches.

That last bit bears repeating. Readers are more than their searches.

Loading your title metadata with keywords you think will turn up often in searches won’t bring you appropriate readers. Instead, eBook buyers will quickly scroll past your less than legitimate looking title.

What’s more, cramming as much as you can into a title results in other issues. For example, metadata that doesn’t jive with the info on your marketing image, or improper capitalization—to name two very common issues that kick plenty of otherwise good reads out of retail distribution.

Of course the example above is exaggerated to make a point, but it never hurts to take a long hard look at your metadata. Does it accurately describe your content? And will it, in addition to showing up in the proper searches, inspire downloads?

Lulu wants to distribute your work. It’s why we exist! Your providing accurate metadata helps us do that… and helps you reach readers who will connect with your work.

15 thoughts on “Metadata vs. Zombies: A Love Story and Weight Loss Guide”

  1. This is a very interesting article mainly for a reason that I arrived at it because I was researching some topics on weight loss.
    Well, I guess you make a good point whether it was a deliberate effort or not.
    Your title mentions weight loss, yet the article is not about weight loss but the meta information in the titles of ebooks. But obviously the same principle can be applied to titles for articles.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing. It was a good read.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Dita. I think your visit helps prove my point… inaccurately or artificially loaded content or metadata (as I ironically loaded mine) leads to search results that aren’t related to the searcher’s needs or wants. Glad you posted!

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