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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to figure something out and was hoping y'all could help. As an indie author I know how important keywords are and pay attention to them in both conversion and uploading.  The other day I downloaded one of my traditionally published books and looked at the OPF file. The publisher put in three "keywords" -- all three of them BISAC categories (frex, one "keyword" is: Juvenile Fiction / Social Issues / Friendship).

So my question is: does this mean my traditionally published book just doesn't have keywords or are the publishers putting those into the various vender systems some other way?  For example, I code the keywords into the OPF file when I convert my indie books, but I also enter the keywords when I upload the file to Amazon, B&N, etc.  I don't know which controls or if it matters that I put the keywords in the epub file itself.

Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if traditional publishers don't pay as much attention to this stuff. I'm already contacting my pub about the epub file for another issue and am trying to decide whether to bring up the lack of keywords and suggest adding some.  But if they're just inputting the keywords separately when they upload the file, it seems like raising the issue wouldn't matter?

Thanks for your help!
 

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What is an OPF file?
 

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Are you referring to the <description> or <subject> tag in the metadata section on the opf file? There is no keywords tag that I am aware of. In epub3 there is a metadata xml object also but also as far as I know, there are also no keywords.
 

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When a major publisher (say, Tor or HarperCollins) adds a book to Amazon, they cannot enter keywords - the function doesn't exist for them. They can enter BISAC categories, which is what you are seeing in the opf file (frex <dc:subject>Horror</dc:subject>)

-J
 

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That's why the way that Author Earnings gather data is skewed against traditional publishers - they measure all the sub-categories that traditionally published books only appear in by accident and only count the top 100 of the main BISAC categories that they do appear in and largely dominate in terms of sales. Note that this is Author Earnings the website not Author Earnings the Excel worksheet (aka dashboard). 

Most traditional publishers are still prioritised towards the print trade and a sorting into sub-sub-categories in a bookstore would be a logistical nightmare. Often they do not even bother with what are valid BISAC categories, for example sticking Science Fiction only even though it is a time travel novel and Time Travel is a BISAC sub-category of Science Fiction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
555aaa said:
Are you referring to the <description> or <subject> tag in the metadata section on the opf file? There is no keywords tag that I am aware of. In epub3 there is a metadata xml object also but also as far as I know, there are also no keywords.
Jnassise said:
When a major publisher (say, Tor or HarperCollins) adds a book to Amazon, they cannot enter keywords - the function doesn't exist for them. They can enter BISAC categories, which is what you are seeing in the opf file (frex <dc:subject>Horror</dc:subject>)

-J
Thanks y'all. I'm referring to the <dc:subject> tag. When I convert my indie titles, that's where I put my keywords -- but perhaps I've been converting incorrectly? I also put the flap copy in the <dc:description> tag. The trad published book has BASIC codes in the <dc:subject> and doesn't have a <dc:description> at all.

I pulled a few other ebooks from my publisher and other pubs to look inside. Most are the same as mine, except one from my publisher which seems to have keywords in the subject tag, but perhaps I'm reading it wrong and they're subcategories for BISAC? I've pasted it below:

<dc:subject>Lesbian</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Magic</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Juvenile Fiction / Love &#38</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Romance</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Juvenile Fiction / Fairy Tales &#38</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy &#38</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Folklore / General</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Juvenile Fiction / Family / Siblings</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>Juvenile Fiction / Gay &#38</dc:subject>

Thanks for helping me figure this out!
 

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I read a post somewhere a while ago that traditional publishers either don't know how or they don't use keywords the way Indies do. I think Publishers have to send it via a program and they probably don't utilize it the way they should.

Do a search on the internet and see if you can find it. I honestly don't remember where I read that.

As for publishing your own e-book, most distributors have a section for selecting categories (limited BISAC) and a place for keywords.
 

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Here's one of mine:

<dc:language>en</dc:language>
<dc:creator opf:file-as="Cooper, Mark E." opf:role="aut">Mark E. Cooper</dc:creator>
<dc:title>Hard Duty: Merkiaari Wars 1</dc:title>
<dc:identifier opf:scheme="sigil">7837a143-445d-4445-96e1-8d6584067a7c</dc:identifier>
<dc:subject>science fiction</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>space opera</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>military</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>alien invasion</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>first contact</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>series</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>high tech</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>space exploration</dc:subject>
<dc:subject>space fleet</dc:subject>
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
555aaa said:
http://www.idpf.org/epub/20/spec/OPF_2.0.1_draft.htm#Section2.2.3

Are those actually used? Do they get stripped out over on the Amazon side? I don't know.
I don't know either. But I do have a friend whose publisher put the wrong title in the OPF file and it kept showing up on Amazon that way -- even though the editor kept correcting it in Onix. That makes me think that the ePub file itself must control in some way? Because I think that Onix is what feeds most of the info to Amazon et al. It sounded like the only place that incorrect title existed was in the coded metadata of the epub file.
 
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