{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Frances Caballo October 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I love it whenever you delve into metadata on your blog, Joel. This is a subject I definitely need to learn about. Now I need to brush up on some of the resources you list here. Thanks for a great post.


Michael Kelberer October 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thanks, Joel. Any research on what specific metadata (besides Category) authors should focus one?
Best regards,


Michael Kelberer October 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Sorry – i just saw the set of links you provided!


Michael W. Perry October 2, 2013 at 8:54 am

The link to the NSA matters. I suspect most people don’t know all the data that’s being added to that picture they’ve taken by their camera, smartphone or software.

Imagine the Gestapo breaking up a Danish resistance group that publishes an underground paper, acquiring the originals of the photos that ran in the paper. In the technology of 1944, those originals would tell them almost nothing. With today’s metadata, the Gestapo would discover a lot about who took it, when and where. The same is true of photos posted online.

Progress has its dangers.


Joel Friedlander October 2, 2013 at 11:00 am

Michael, I was thinking something similar when I was looking at the geo-location information that was captured along with the rest of the data. Something to ponder, for sure, but it doesn’t look like we’ll ever be going back to that simpler time.


J.M. Ney-Grimm October 2, 2013 at 7:32 am

I was just updating cover copy on several of my books last night. And, lo and behold! I discovered that I’d accidentally put one of them in the category historical fiction. No, no, no! It’s historical fantasy. Not sure how that slip occurred, but I’m glad I discovered it. Some of the readers of historical fiction might like Livli’s Gift, but those readers actually searching for historical fantasy would have never found it. Lesson: review meta data at regular intervals to double check that it’s correct!


Joel Friedlander October 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

Absolutely. Great tip, thanks for that.


Jason Matthews October 2, 2013 at 7:00 am

I’m of the opinion that the most important metadata for Jane and Joe writer exists in the keywords we send to Amazon included within our titles, subtitles categories, keywords they provide and perhaps lastly (dead last) in the description. I’m not convinced the metadata we can add to our documents, e.g. tags, does much during a Kindle search.


Joel Friedlander October 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

Jason, thanks for that. Yes, the higher the level of metadata, the more important it seems to be. Starting with your categories is the best idea, since many readers search by genre, and you want to be where your readers are looking.

And I could have added this one to the list, regarding titles and subtitles:

How to Write Book Titles for People and Robots


Karen October 2, 2013 at 5:39 am

BTW- regarding my previous comment- yes, I am off to read each of the links to other metadata resources you’ve listed. But what is hard to believe is that I’ve been researching this for a while – and I keep coming up with so empty handed and with so little usable information that I can’t imagine what I am doing wrong. LOL! I feel that no one less than Edward Snowden can help!


Joel Friedlander October 2, 2013 at 10:51 am

Karen, I hope you do click through, because these articles contain practical, step by step information you can use for your own book projects. You might want to start with the “Introduction to Metadata” article, but the others will also have useful tools for you. Any questions, leave them here in the comments.


Karen October 2, 2013 at 5:34 am

How timely! I spent last evening in a state of clueless frustration, staring at the kdp upload screen asking for keywords for my book. Joel, for children’s picture books – where can I view & research the keywords other children’s authors enter so that I can learn how to do it for myself? Many thanks!


Alan Drabke October 2, 2013 at 5:33 am

Pretty interesting, but not quite what I need to know. I want to know if the metadata embedded in my word files and pdf’s proves I wrote the book or paper and guarantees the date I wrote it. That’s my interest in metadata.


Tracy Atkins October 2, 2013 at 10:54 am


Virtually every modern file format has embedded metadata tags for authorship, time stamps, and other related information. When you create a PDF, that information is usually embedded. That said, the metadata can be changed or overwritten without any kind of file copy protection, in many cases, if someone is intent on doing it. So if you are looking for a “digital signature” to prove ownership/origin of a document, you might want to investigate file security schemes, or certificates.


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