Watch Yer Metadata!

Remember the movie The Music Man? I think my favorite character was Mayor Shinn, who ran around telling all the kids to “Watch Your Phraseology!” whenever they used slang.

If you’re going to self-publish with Smashwords — and probably on the Kindle too — you want to watch your metadata. This is information about a document — including it’s author’s name — that Word hides in the Properties section.

I have wondered why on my Kindle for PC books, instead of a title it says something like tmp_f604-2962-496-43697-96 (I just made that number up). It even says this on Mark Coker’s guide to publishing on Smashwords, ha! So it’s obviously easy to miss.

That’s the place where you want it to have your title. And there is another place where it has the author of the text. This will be the user name that you entered when you first installed Word on your computer. So you probably want to change that to your pen name!

Here is how:
In the document, click on the office button in the upper left corner: then click on Prepare then click Properties.

A Properties panel will come up and you can fill in all the fields. I would fill out as many as you can think of, as future search functions may make use of them and bring your book onto more people’s radar.

When you’ve filled in the fields, click the little x to the far right and your new info will be saved. Ta-da! and now in the Kindle, it will show your name and title instead of other weird stuff.


3 Responses to “Watch Yer Metadata!”

  1. zoewinters Says:

    Oh, thank you so much for this! I’m fairly certain I need to do this with my Smashwords titles. Everything seems to be coming up just right on Kindle. But I think that’s cause I publish direct with them and they get those details on the details page.

  2. Cara Wallace Says:

    Very useful — thanks!

  3. likari Says:

    Especially important for people with pen names, but I think using the tags and categories might also be useful so the work turns up in more search engines – though that is just a guess on my part!

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