Your Book’s Metadata (ex. author bio, book description)

What is metadata?  Metadata is all the information you will give Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble’s PubIt, and Smashwords when you publish your book.

I’m going to cover a list of metadata you’ll need to publish your book on the sites listed above.  If anyone can think of something to add to the list, please let me know.

1.  Book Title

You want a title that will intrigue your target audience.  Search through Amazon and B&N for titles in your genre and see which ones spark your interest if you’re having trouble coming up with a one.

2.  Book Cover

All I can say is make it attractive and gear it to your target audience.  We are doing posts on book covers already, so I won’t say more than that, except to say HAVE A BOOK COVER!  There is no excuse for not having one.

3.  Book description

You need one.  I see too many authors only give snippets of reviews instead of giving a book description.  Please do your potential reader a favor and tell them what your book is about.

You don’t want it too long.  I think less is more.   Try to sum up your book with the following:

  • the main character(s)
  • the problem
  • what the character(s) stand to lose (aka crisis)
  • a hook that will leave the potential reader wondering how it’s going to end

4.  Author Bio

This should be about a paragraph or two but short.  Readers don’t need to know your life story, just get a look at you.  Here’s elements you can put in it:

  • Publication credits or awards (other articles/books written, number of books published, any awards won, any bestsellers’ lists you were on)
  • Anything you want to share about your family or where you live (my suggestion is to be vague: ex. Author X lives with a husband, two kids and a dog in Florida.)
  • Information on where people can find out more about you, such as your website or blog.

5.  Price

Only you can determine this one, and to put your mind at ease, there is no right or wrong price.  You price it at what you want.  Who cares what someone else thinks?  This is your book, not theirs.

6.  To DRM or not to DRM

I prefer no DRM because I want my reader to be able to transfer my book to another device if they wish, but it’s up to you.  Again, do what makes you comfortable.

7.  Territorial or Worldwide rights

If you want your book available in other countries, use this feature.  If you don’t want it published in some areas, then choose the territory option and click the countries you want your book available at.

8.  Categories

Try to limit this to two or three.  Your book has a broad category it fits in, so you want to focus on that audience.  A romance novel with a dash of sci-fi does not make your book a sci-fi novel.  It might be a contemporary or paranormal romance or even a sci-fi romance, but it is not a sci-fi novel.  Too many authors want to say their book is for a bunch of categories when two or three will do just fine.  Besides, this is where keywords come in.

9.  Keywords (aka tags)

Only use words that apply to your novel.  Don’t put keywords you think people will want that don’t help the reader with their search.  For example, if you think “vampires” are hot, but your book doesn’t have vampires in it or you have the heroine say one line about a vampire book she read, then you should not use “vampire” for a keyword.  Also, I don’t think you should use other authors as keywords.  You are your own author with your unique voice.  Let your story stand on its own merit, not someone else’s.  If a stranger tags your book with another author’s name who writes books similar to yours, then that is fine.  But I don’t agree with doing this to your own books.

Focus on major themes in your book when listing keywords.


That’s all I can think of.  Does anyone have anything to add?


  1. This is all great advice. And what you mentioned about tags is very true. One book seller, I don’t remember which one, said they would take a book down if it was found that an author added tags just to make their book searchable if the tag wasn’t related to their book.

    1. Good for that book seller. It’s hard enough to find a book when I search for something, but it really pisses me off when I find unrelated books coming up in my searches. I like tags because they help me (as an author) alert potential readers to what they’re getting. My hope is that it’ll lower the disappointment factor. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Ruth…this is a big help:) Timely as usual!

    1. You’re welcome. 🙂

  3. Strayer says:

    My book is lost at Kindle. YA is in with children as a category. The YA writers have trouble with this as well.
    I am lucky that my tags are simple. I thought about them before I put them on.
    I was looking for a public domain picture one day for the blog. I used Google and as I scrolled down, I found a perfect picture. It was from another post on my blog.
    That’s how I know tags work.

    1. Amazon doesn’t allow for a children category? They blend it in with YA? That’s nuts since the two are very separate categories. I wish stock photo photographers would make their tags more specific. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the wrong type of picture because they type in everything they can think of and some doesn’t fit.

      1. Strayer says:

        At Amazon KDP, there is children, but no YA. The categories are general and don’t usually fit the books.

        1. All I can say is “yuck”. They really need to be more clear since the two are world’s apart.

  4. I’ve got to get myself my author’s bio properly squared away now that I’ve got the bulk of the work finished.

    1. I think the author’s bio is as challenging at the book description, but at least once you do the author’s bio, you’re good for the other books you write. 😀

  5. Thanks for the info! It’s very helpful and given me a list of things I need to work on. 😀

    1. You make the best book descriptions. I envy your talent. 😀

      1. Thanks. 😀 I’m finding that I give too much away in the story. I need to tighten them up and say stuff that gets people to want to read the book

        1. Strayer says:

          When you’re done with that, can you come over and do mine for the adult book?

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