Kathy Meis is the founder and CEO of Bublish, the world’s first complete publishing solution with integrated brand-building, marketing and discoverability features.
Kathy’s career began when she graduated Indiana State. As a reporter she worked for Forbes building the editorial brand from scratch. When the Internet emerged as the new way to communicate and connect with one another Kathy witnessed respected editorial brands in the print media become fractured.
As a freelance writer and ghostwriter of business books she began to think about the problem and how to fix it. She realized that the container of content was very important to the brand itself. She created bublish as a sort of “online container” to help authors maintain a consistent brand on the web, and to re-create the experience of browsing a bookshelf online.
Metadata is data about your book. Before the Internet metadata was a backend product publishers used to help books navigate the distribution process. It was a way for publishers, bookstore owners, and librarians to organize the books they had to help consumers find what they want.
Today, metadata is a consumer facing process. That is, consumers are using the search engine algorithms to comb through metadata and find what they’re looking for. This makes it more important than ever that content creators create appropriate metadata to make their content discoverable by their ideal reader.
The world is so reliant on search algorithms today that if you don’t make your metadata relevant and computer friendly, you will quite simply get lost in the crowd.
There are two types of metadata:
1. Simple metadata — that is metadata created by the author directly. Examples include: Cover, product description, and title.
2. Enriched metadata — includes metadata created by customers, as well as metadata that doesn’t necessarily relate to one particular book. Examples include: reviews, excerpts, hashtags, blog tags, awards you’ve received, and author bios.
Metadata is vitally important because it creates your online brand. It’s how people find you online.
The key to Digital Branding is to be indexed in as many ways as possible and to be consistent about your author message with everything you post online.
Rich Snippets are a powerful way to differentiate yourself from your competition. They are tools offered by Google which allow you to give the search engine more specific information about who you are and what you sell. If you use Rich snippets in the right way on your website, people will be able to find you more easily.
Whenever possible the things you post online should be keyword rich. You should choose keywords that clue your potential audience into who you are and what your brand’s about.
Search and Discoverability on Amazon
The best Amazon marketing starts with your manuscript and positioning. We have to start with the product figure out who your audience is, and what genre you’ve written. This will help us position your book in front of readers who want to buy it.
The most important piece of metadata that you will ever show the world as an author is your cover. It’s the first thing potential customers see. It has your title, your subtitle, and your name on it. If it’s done right, the cover also conveys a sense of the genre your book is in. This is just as true for nonfiction as for fiction.
Beyond the image, covers can also contain metadata searchable by search engines that tell them what the book is about. Nielsen did a study that showed book covers that were properly optimized with appropriate metadata sold 432% more copies than covers without appropriate metadata.
The next piece of metadata you show the world is your title. You want to carefully research titles in your genre. You want a title that isn’t used too much but still feels like a title from your genre.
If your book has a subtitle that’s another piece of metadata that search engines use to help consumers find your book. With nonfiction books it’s common to put the benefit that your audience will receive from reading the book in the subtitle. With fiction books it can be helpful to use a keyword that describes the genre to the reader, i.e. dystopian technothriller or Vampire Romance
If you’re writing a series, you can also have a series title. This is another place you can have keywords to make your work more discoverable.
Now we come to the second most important piece of metadata after your cover. That is, your category pathway (a.k.a. Categories on Amazon)
Your category pathway is how Amazon consumers find you when browsing through Amazon for a book. It’s important that you place your books in an appropriate category so when someone sees your book they have a basic idea of the reading experience they’re going to get when they buy your book.
If someone’s looking for a military sci-fi adventure and they see a Romance book in that category they’re just going to skip it automatically because that’s not the kind of reading experience they’re looking for.
You want to place your book in categories it’s relevant to and you want to get as specific as possible. The more specific subcategory you can place your book into, the more likely it is that you will find your ideal reader.
Sometimes you can’t find the exact category pathway you want. In those cases it pays to contact Amazon and see what they can do for you. If you see a category string on Amazon it can be replicated for your book provided Amazon agrees that the category string is relevant to your book.
One powerful way to make sure you’re getting your metadata right is to create a “virtual bookshelf” of the books that you want to be associated with. Look at 10 best-selling books like your book. Study their metadata. Look at their covers and search for common elements. Look at their also boughts, study their metadata. Replicate what you can.
Amazon Author Central is a magnificent place where you can control in rich metadata including pictures, your bio, content and editorial reviews.
It’s important that if you have more than one book all of your books are on your author Central page. This is a really easy way to introduce a new fan to your entire catalog.
In your author bio you should make an effort to include keywords related to your genre so that people using search engines can find you more easily if they’re looking for a genre book.
If you have any editorial reviews, be sure to put them on your Author Central page because those reviews will show up on all of your books.
Using Goodreads As a Marketing Tool
Goodreads is an online community devoted to reading. It’s powerful for two reasons.
1. It’s a community driven independently by readers.
2. It’s owned by Amazon, which means there is significant integration between the two sites.
Goodreads is a powerful way to get discovered by new readers because it provides social proof that makes it easier for someone to decide to buy your book.
How to Get Your Book on a GoodReads List
1. Create a Goodreads author bio.
2. Tell your audience that you’re on Goodreads
3. Have someone from your audience nominate you for a list.
Social Media Marketing Strategy
The most important thing to remember when formulating a social media marketing strategy is to be consistent in your message and brand.
Social networks like twitter and Facebook are fantastic places to tell the Internet about yourself because they are frequently indexed by Google, and depending upon how often you post, you can have a lot of metadata that tells the casual browser who you are and conveys your message.
Consistency is important, because the average person spends about 7 seconds deciding whether or not they’re on the right page on the Internet. If your twitter, Facebook, other social networks, and website are consistent with one another then you are far more likely to get a customer.
Links and Resources Mentioned in the Interview
Bublish — a website where you can write, promote, and use tools to sell your book. They also have marketing tutorials.
https://www.goodreads.com/ — an online social network of readers owned by Amazon.com.
https://www.facebook.com/bublishme/ — Bublish’s Facebook page
https://twitter.com/bublishme — Bublish on twitter
metadata is your brand one sheet — The reference sheet Kathy Spoke about
https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ — create a profile on Author Central to make your work more discoverable.
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Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.