One blog reader, Chihuahua Zero, commented on Friday's post that he'd like to read more about metadata—one of the key elements identified by Jon Fine of Amazon as important to e-book sales, and discussed briefly in my post. I appreciate that request—thank you Chihuahua Zero!
Simply put, what I gather from reading about the topic is that metadata is the information about your book that describes your work, and is used to classify it for e-book sales. The e-book publisher uses the metadata you provide to categorize where your book belongs in their lexicon, and how they will present it to potential readers (much like deciding which bookshelf it goes on in the brick and mortar bookstore).
Here's part of how Jon Fine defined metadata (as reported in a Digital Book World post):
Metadata is basically the online version of everything publishers used to sell books before the rise of digital: Book cover, synopsis, author information, book-jacket blurbs and more. Ignoring the digital versions of these things can doom a book to obscurity.
It starts with the cover. Online, an effective cover is different than what works in print.