9 thoughts on “Meta Data Tools for Writers

    • You’re welcome. With the advice I’m seeing so conflicting and crazy and from authors who seem to already have platforms of several books (which doesn’t help us newbie authors). I feel like I should share anything I find.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Have you checked out Amazon’s own pages about keyword suggestions? More than just keywords, being placed in the right subcategory helps raise a book’s rankings and if it’s in a very competitive subcategory that may not be right fit to your book, it could mean your book won’t show up high in search results either. This page in Amazon’s help pages helped me immensely with my subcategories and it’s under “Categories with Keyword Requirements.” https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A200PDGPEIQX41

    I also just downloaded a sample of your book and noticed it 700+ pages! You could totally split that into 2 books and make the first part free with a good CTA leading to the second part which will be marked $3.99.

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    • Thank you for checking out my book! Thanks for the advice about subcategories. I’m going to see if changing my keywords helped at all for about a week before tinkering again. The difficult thing is I’m writing in a category that doesn’t really exist? *shrugs*

      Yeah, my book is about 170,000 words. I understand that’s long. Your average, say Anne Bishop book, runs at 165,000. So in mass market (checks Written in Red) that’s about 487 pages (without back matter.) That means in Word my book is roughly 500 pages with all the front and back matter and with kindle and weird kindle formatting it added 200 pages to the count (even though they SAY it doesn’t matter.)

      I’ve struggled with the length and have decided to own it. It’s the way I tell stories for the most part and it’s the structure of the story. I wish it was as simple as “cut these scenes” or “Cut the book in half.” *Checks* yeah, that’s the middle of Gideon’s first Monday involving Savannah walking in on him naked and discussions about how many clowns can fit in the trunk of his auto.

      I wish I could write shorter sometimes!

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      • I used to write longer works, too, and still do if I don’t have my app tell me how many words I’ve written so far. I think my first book was 145K words and then the second was 125K, the third 104K. With contemporary romance I’ve noticed they run shorter at about 50 – 90K so I try to keep it that within that guideline.

        Some categories don’t show up in the choices that Amazon shows you in the KDP dashboard. Some of them you have to request to add to your book page and as long as you have the corresponding keywords associated with that category, they will update your book metadata to reflect that. Like, if you like Anne Bishop’s books, check to see what subcategories her books are categorized under (go to the bottom of the book page and you’ll see it there) and copy that subcategory starting with Kindle>Fiction>Romance>subcat>subcat and then paste that category in your email to customer service at the bottom of your kdp dashboard with the request to have them update your book with that category.

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      • That is very helpful. Thank you. Yeah, their categories are very confusing. I’ll poke about and see if I can find something better than where I have it. I do enjoy Anne Bishop and Jim Butcher. She is very clearly fantasy. And he is very clearly urban fantasy. I’m more… science fantasy. I think Mercedes Lackey might be a better fit, Bedlam’s Bard maybe. You have given me something to think about.

        My first “book” I guess was about 82,000 and my second and third that I’d consider a books about 130,000. (I call them books but I can’t use them for reasons. Drawer door stoppers basically.) I do have a fantasy novel that is around 110,000 words (without the sex scene.) So I can write shorter. The first draft of book 2 of Heathens is sitting around 170,000 like book one. I usually aim to write to see where the story takes me. Then go from there on if it needs to go up or down. I didn’t know anything of word limits and industry standards until I started trying to get an agent. Then I ended up self publishing.

        I am working on changing the formatting of the Lone Prospect. You seemed alarmed at 700 pages. We’ll see if taking the spaces out helps. I’m about halfway through. Formatting is… entertaining.

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      • LOL on ‘alarmed’ and yes, you’re partly right. I didn’t know anything about genre expectations when I started so my books were long. But if your genre is science fiction or fantasy, then 700 pages is perfect; for romance, which is my genre, not so much. Usually we romance writers cut it up into a series because that means we can offer book 1 free to entice readers to buy book 2 and 3 and so on, and even have a separate listing for the full box set. It’s all about merchandising once the book is done and getting the reader to come back for more.

        As far as pages, I think KDP determines that according to word count so I wouldn’t change the formatting. And if it’s part of the course for your genre, then by all means, keep the page count the way it is.

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      • Does anyone know how Kindle does formatting? Really? I’m curious now. Because doing a “look inside” they even kept my font size. It just seems weird that for an ebook they would do a “print” length.

        It really is about marketing and genre expectations. Science Fiction and Fantasy has higher word allowances because we have to explain more. Though most Urban fantasy still falls in the 80,000 to 100,000 range. But when they do that, they put out two books a year. And the only people I can tell that get box sets are JRR Tolkien and Lewis. Everybody needs to be able to market themselves and that is one thing they don’t teach you in college or in high school. And a lot of the marketing on the internet are scams. Right now, I’ll take the turtle philosophy, slow and steady.

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      • I use Vellum to format my ebooks, and I love it because it gives me so much flexibility and makes some beautiful ebooks. If you need your book reformatted, I can help you with that if you want.

        Yep, we all need to market ourselves these days and while there are many scams out there, there are some pretty good ones, too. I do love the marketing books and among my favorites are Write. Publish. Repeat. by Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt and David Wright. There’s also Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson which is a free download, I think, from Amazon and it’s helped me build my email list where I get most of my sales whenever I run a promotion or release a book. There’s also Instafreebie where I have some of my bonus stories available to download in exchange for an email address, as well as excerpts of my books, like a sneak preview of my latest release. It’s finding what works for you and while some of them don’t work (I haven’t figured out how to make Instagram work for me, but I love my cover model who’s big on IG so it’s more eye candy for me these days than anything), some of them do. Right now, what works for me are the email list (I started with 6 subscribers back in December 2015 and now have about 5 – 6K), Facebook ads and Twitter. When I take advantage of my free days promotion for my one KU book, I use BKnights on Fiverr to jumpstart the reads. I used to do blog updates about my book promo efforts on my old author blog, lizmadridauthor.wordpress.com and need to do an update on my latest one soon. Which reminds me – I have too many blogs lol


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