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Editor’s Letter: A New View on Metadata

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Some of the best things about being an editor for Indie Author Magazine are the gems of wisdom I come across in our writers’ stories.

Take Eryka Parker’s feature on keywords in this month’s issue. Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve always viewed managing metadata as a bit of a chore—something we do to keep the algorithms fed and our books showing up in readers’ search results. But Eryka’s story approaches things from a new perspective: one that frames keywords as a way to build a relationship not with our distributors but directly with our readers.

It probably shouldn’t be as novel a concept as it seems—or at least as it seemed to me when I read it. Everything we do as authors points back to our readers and lays valuable paths between us, especially marketing. The genres we select for our books are a promise of the kinds of stories we’re going to tell and the story elements found within the pages. Why wouldn’t our keywords be the same kind of promise?

Yet Eryka’s perspective was an important reminder for me nonetheless. Metadata, at its most basic, is just a series of online breadcrumb trails leading readers—not distribution sites—back to our books.

None of this is to say crafting that metadata can’t still pose a challenge. We’ve dedicated this entire issue to helping you make sense of it, in fact! But it’s an interesting reminder of just why metadata is so important, and so deserving of its own IAM issue. On its own, metadata may just be a series of digital breadcrumbs. But if we only approach this vital step of publishing as a way to feed the algorithms, the path that’s left may be too muddled to fulfill its true purpose: guiding potential readers home. 

Nicole Schroeder

Editor in Chief

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