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Donna, prior to beginning my topic for tonight, I do have a piece of news that will be of interest to almost all authors and to many, many reviewers and readers. Iconic uber-reviewer and good friend of mine, Harriet Klausner, has died at age 63. Harriet was Amazon’s #1 reviewer with an incredible 31,014 reviews at the time of her death. A former librarian and self-acclaimed speed-reader, Harriet read 4 to 6 books daily. I’ve visited her house several times and seen manuscripts piled as high as a New York editor’s desk. She also was intimately familiar with almost all romance writers and could name books by them that she had reviewed.
In 2006, Harriet was named by TIME Magazine as a person of the year under the heading of influences of American taste and culture. To quote TIME, “Klausner is part of a quiet revolution in the way American taste gets made. The influence of newspaper and magazine critics is on the wane. People don’t care to be lectured by professionals on what they should read or listen to or see. They’re increasingly likely to pay attention to amateur online reviewers, bloggers and Amazon critics like Klausner.”
She was a dear friend, a brilliant reviewer and writer and her presence on this earth will be sorely missed.
HOW TO — USE METADATA:
I plan to spend the next few weeks on the Hummingbird Place Radio Show talking about the Novelists Inc. Conference at the Tradewinds in St. Petersburg, Florida.
NINC is N-I-N-C, which is short for NOVELISTS INC. You can find information about NINC at its website, ninc.com, that’s n i n c –dot-com
Well, I came home from the conference looking kind of strange. If you’ve seen the commercial where the people’s heads explode – that was me after 5 days of listening to industry professionals and uber-successful indie authors talking about how to best market your indie-published book. Donna, my head LITERALLY exploded, from all the information.
I want to start this first review of the NINC conference by saying, if you are a published author and you have in the past, are now, or are contemplating in the future publishing independently, Novelists, INC is for you. NINC, as the organization is affectionately called, brings our many voices and talents together for one purpose — to help each of us manage our writing career throughout a lifetime. Novelists, Inc’s story is one of networking and strong success.
This week, I’m talking about METADATA: If you are online, you should know what metadata is. You may not, I didn’t, but I should, and so should you.
Metadata, in a nutshell, is data about data.
The use of metadata on web pages can be very important. Metadata for web pages contain descriptions of the page’s contents, as well as keywords linked to the content. These are usually expressed in the form of metatags. And a meta tag is a tag OR a coding statement in HTML (the language of web pages) that describes some aspect of the contents of a Web page. The information that you put in a meta tag is used by search engines to index a page so that someone who is searching for the kind of information your page contains will be able to find it.
So, for instance, my web page might contain metatags that tell the search engine how many Harlequin Intrigues I’ve written—38, what Harlequin Intrigues are – romantic suspense, but also romance and possibly thriller, and also mystery. All of those are legitimate metatags for the type of book I wrote for Intrigue. I might also include the words contemporary, hero, heroic, love story, and who knows how many other words that describe my particular type of writing.
Your metadata will contain your web page’s description and summary and will come up in search results through search engines. That means that accuracy and detail are extremely important since that information can determine whether the searcher decides to visit your site or not.
And here’s a fabulous tip about metatags and metadata. When something about your or your books changes, change the metadata to reflect that. And not only on your web page. Don’t forget your social media sites, your bios and anywhere else you or your books are described.
Keeping up with your metadata and keeping it updated, is one of those great things that is free, if time-consuming, but can make a big difference in your discoverability. Don’t feel like you’re too busy to update your metadata on all your sites. It could very well be worth it!