Top 10 Author FAQs about Book Metadata and How It Impacts Your Book

Marketing Strategy word cloud

Metadata is a buzzy term that gets thrown around a lot, so understanding what it is and how it can impact your book is an essential part of success.

The metadata we’re talking about refers to all of the pieces of information that go into describing your book and its content, such as keywords, description, awards, and reviews. These details are then used to produce, publish, distribute, market, and sell your final book. This information is sent out to retailers, discovery services, abstracting and indexing providers, and citation indexers.

Because this information is used by a slew of internal databases and sent out to booksellers around the globe, it’s important to make sure that it’s complete, accurate, and as rich as possible in order to maximize its usefulness.

  1. What does Elsevier do to enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for my book?

Before your book is announced to the market, our marketing and editorial teams work together to ensure that important key items have been identified and entered into our database. Not only do we make sure that author biographies, affiliations, Table of Contents, and awards and reviews are applied, but we also enlist an SEO expert to optimize description, key features, and keyword fields for maximum impact in the marketplace.  Learn more about SEO…

  1. How does Elsevier make sure my book is found in major discovery services like Summon, EBSCO, and Primo?

The major discovery services have access to ScienceDirect content, so they are able to index your book once it goes live on that platform. Once your book is indexed, the discovery services then link search results back to the full text on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform.  Learn more about our partnerships with discovery services…

  1. Which indexing services will index my book?

Elsevier partners with a number of services, including Paratext’s Reference Universe, which specializes in providing collection information to libraries. This helps spread information about Major Reference Works that ScienceDirect hosts to institutions around the world. We also work with citation indexers like Web of Science and Scopus to make sure your book is easily found by researchers.  Learn more about our indexing partnerships and how these help users find your content…

  1. What helps my book stand out from other books in the same topic area?

Identifying keywords that apply specifically to your book helps us to target what features are most important to highlight. Since you are the expert on your title, you have the best insight into which keywords are most valuable. Picking general terms doesn’t give your title the competitive edge it needs. For example, the keyword phrase “natural language processing” is much more targeted and specific, rather than a keyword like “technology“. You can use short phrases that mirror what a user might search for when looking for information on your topic.  Learn more about optimizing descriptive copy…

  1. If my book wins an award or gets a great review, will that information be shared?

Yes! We track reviews and awards of your book and include them in the metadata that we send to our partners. If you or your title have recently won an award, let us know. That information can be critical in setting your title apart from other books on similar topics.

  1. What is the best way to request changes to descriptions or other book details?

Our editorial and marketing teams thoroughly validate all metadata before inputting it into our systems, making any necessary updates before the book is sent to market to ensure the most accurate information is being sent to suppliers, partners, and potential customers. However, there may occasionally be details that need to be corrected. If you notice something that needs to be changed, email your editorial project manager and they can help correct the information.

Changes typically appear on Elsevier’s website within 3-7 business days. Updates are sent out to third parties like Amazon in daily metadata feeds and generally show up within a week depending on how quickly the partner is able to ingest the change.

  1. How does information I provide to marketing in Elsevier’s Marketing Author Questionnaire (MAQ) help promote my book?

Our editorial and marketing team uses the information that you provide in the MAQ in a variety of ways, such as:

  • To determine which social networks to target
  • To come up with potential blog articles that could incorporate your topic area
  • To reach out to media outlets or organizations you are associated with
  • To submit your title for relevant awards

It’s important that the MAQ is filled out as completely as possible as it helps our team address the above areas and more.

  1. How do I create an ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID), and what benefit does it have for me?

Creating an ORCID is quick and easy. Just go to and fill in a few identifying details about yourself. Then, you can link your ID to the books and articles to which you have contributed. Having a unique identifier ensures that you get credit for your publications. No more confusing John Smith at Institution X with John Smith at Institution Y!  Learn more about how to create your ORCID…

  1. Is it important for me to update my biography and affiliations if I have already registered for an ORCID?

Yes. Having your up-to-date affiliations and a biography in place ensures that only the most recent information will appear on the Elsevier store and feed out to our partners. This helps drive discoverability for your title, so if someone searches for you on the web, they’ll be driven toward a page that offers your book for sale. Making sure that we have your current affiliations also helps to make your book more discoverable for the same reasons.

  1. How can I make sure my book is a top search result when users search for it?

Providing an accurate picture of your book’s content in the MAQ helps us craft descriptions, apply keywords, and assign specific subject codes (called BISAC codes) to your title, which in turn determines where your book gets categorized by retailers like Amazon. The more specific we can be with the categories and keywords, the better chance users can find your title via search. Remember, a user is more likely to search for a specific term like “vertebrate morphology” than for something general like “biology,” so don’t be afraid to get technical!  Learn more about how to boost your book’s search ranking…

Connect with us on social media and stay up to date on new articles