This subject is one which makes (almost) everyone’s eyes glaze over. Yet it is of great importance. I’ve been working up a post on it on and off for a couple of years!

Discoverability is what you need: if your potential customers can’t discover your book on the web, they obviously won’t be able to buy it. Metadata are those details about your book which enable searches to find it. Porter Anderson’s Ether for Authors on Publishing Perspectives starts out with the arguments for getting an ISBN.

Renée Register provides an introduction to metadata on Publishing Perspectives, which starts out encouragingly telling you you know more about the subject than you thought you did. She is the co-author of The Metadata Handbook from which the metadata glossary in the next post is derived.

In his piece for Book Business Magazine, Bill Kasdorf tells us “To use an industrial age metaphor for what we think of as an information age concept, metadata is the oil that keeps the machinery of publishing cranking smoothly.” His essay (make sure you click through to the second page) provides all the background you’ll need to convince you that this is a task which does need to be thought about. If you follow up any of the links in this piece this is the one to read. It is long but comprehensive.

Search Engine Optimization is a second level of work in the quest for optimum discoverability. This Publishing Perspectives post of 20 March 2013 gives a few pointers.

Bill Kasdorf mentioned the development of Thema codes. Here’s a case for their adoption, from Book Business 18 February 2014.