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Bob Stein. Most recent were complaints about the difficulty of securing reversion rights to work that’s out of print. Some authors have been very successful making the request on their own, myself included.

Others feel themselves blocked, deliberately or otherwise, by current and former publishing houses. Sometimes what’s needed is the correct and forceful wording of a request along with a reminder that by contract the publishing rights have expired. This is one of many issues that Bob can discuss with NINC members.

Even if your issues are not serious (relatively speaking, of course) the conference is providing a venue for getting answers so you can strike the questions from your list of worries. Requests have already begun coming in (contact for a slot in one of the six sessions, and there are still some open places to be filled. Don’t wait until the last minute to sign up.

Sandra Kitt, Guest Speaker Liaison

METADATA 101:

A Non-Techie Does Her Best to Explain
Metadata (and Why It Matters) in Plain English

BY RUTH HARRIS

First of all, what the &%^# is metadata? According to Wikipedia, it’s “data about data.” But we’re writers, and we’re talking about books, so, huh?

Let me try again: when it comes to a book, metadata can be defined both by what it is and what it isn’t.

Metadata’s everything in a file that’s not included between the first word and the last word of your book.

Which leaves us, well, exactly what?

Essentially, for a writer, metadata is everything except the book we include when we upload a book: cover, title, author’s name, series name (if the book is part of a series), categories, keywords, blurb, ISBN, reviews, author bio.

Metadata also includes front matter and back matter and tells a reader what s/he wants to know before deciding to buy (or not to buy) your book. Metadata matters (a lot) and here are some reasons why, starting with the front matter (everything the reader sees that comes before the actual beginning of the book):

The cover is the writer’s first sell opportunity and the reader’s first clue to genre. A naked male torso avec bulging six-pack promises the reader hot s-e-x and maybe romance. A fanged death’s head drooling pus and blood means horror. Be creative but don’t mislead your reader! Book designer Joel Friedlander often blogs about covers at www.thebookdesigner.com.

The title (and the series title, if there is one) is another crucial signal, so choose wisely. You wouldn’t call a sweet romance set in a sleepy Southern village Night Of the Psychotic Avenger, would you? You wouldn’t call a dystopian urban zombie thriller Aunt Matilda’s Ye Olde Knitting And Crochet Shoppe, would you? And Adventures of a Girl is hopeless: too generic, tells the reader nothing. Bottom line: choose your title carefully.

Leading a reader astray or leaving him/her to wonder what the book is about isn’t good for you, your sales — or for your reader.

The author’s name is your brand so respect it. If the author name is a pseudonym, though, match the name with your genre. “Studly McBoozehound” might be an OK choice if you’re writing brass-knuckled noirpulp. It would be a lousy choice if you’re writing swoony 18th Century historical romance set in the Scottish Highlands. Capeesh?

The blurb, or as Amazon refers to it, the Product Description, is your opportunity to tell readers why they absolutely must buy your book. Your blurb needs to pop and sizzle and compel the reader to hit the buy button. After the purchase, when your book is already present on someone’s e-reader, placing the blurb in the front matter will remind the reader why s/he bought the book in the first place.

Writing a powerful blurb is both an art and a craft. Superstar indie author, Mark Edwards, gives advice on how to write a compelling blurb in a February 10, 2013 guest post on Anne R. Allen’s blog. (http://tinyurl.com/mlqq9lr)    continues on page 13   

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