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Professional Development – Metadata and Discoverability for Authors

27 April @ 10:00 - 11:15 BST

Virtual Event
Free – £10.00

What is metadata and why does it matter for writers, illustrators and literary translators?

This session is intended to inform authors on the important aspects of metadata and why it matters, how to create strong metadata and why it can help or hinder your sales.

Ben Hughes of Ingram Spark, author-illustrator Sarah McIntyre and host Nicola Solomon will cover the basics of metadata, what the different terminology means, and look at how metadata can help your sales both in a physical and online setting, as well as what information is key to reaching a certain audience.

What will this workshop cover?

  • Metadata – the basics
  • Why does strong metadata matter?
  • Online selling – availability and discoverability
  • Retailer specific metadata

Who is this workshop for?

The session is for any author – writer, illustrator or literary translator – looking to enhance their sales by understanding how good metadata can help their book. It is also a wider discussion on how to plan and execute a strong online strategy.


  • 5 mins – Welcome and introductions by Chair Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors
  • 50 mins – Discussion with Benjamin Hughes, Ingram Spark and Sarah McIntyre
  • 20 mins – Questions from the audience
  • 5 mins – Summary and closing comments from Nicola Solomon


If you would like to send questions in advance, email Sophia A Jackson with ‘Ingram Spark – Question’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many questions on the day as possible.

The line-up

Ben Hughes – Manager/Business Development, Ingram Spark

Ben Hughes is the Business Development Manager for IngramSpark in the UK. In this role, he oversees all lines of business as they relate to IngramSpark including the customer service team and has been in this post since January 2020. As the needs of authors develop in an ever-changing publishing landscape, IngramSpark is adapting to ensure that its author platform is second-to-none in terms of service, author education, distribution options and customer satisfaction – Ben leads on these areas of focus for the UK business whilst also working closely with our parent organisation in the United States and our other global office in Australia. With experience across physical and digital bookselling and publishing, Ben has worked for the Lightning Source part of the Ingram business and prior to that spent 5 years at Penguin Random House in various sales and operational roles.

Sarah McIntyre – Illustrator

Easily recognisable in her pointy specs and hats, Sarah McIntyre writes and illustrates popular children’s books including the Grumpycorn picture books, Dinosaur Firefighters, The New Neighbours, and the comic book Vern and Lettuce. She creates longer, highly illustrated books with her co-author Philip Reeve, including Oliver and the Seawigs, Pugs of the Frozen North, and their new series about Kevin, the Roly-Poly Flying Pony. In 2015, Sarah and James Mayhew started the Pictures Mean Business campaign to show publishing and readers how everyone benefits when illustrators are credited for their work. Joined by Soni Speight (creator of PicturesMeanBusiness.com) and Woodrow Phoenix and supported by a wide range of publishers, agents, writers, reviewers, booksellers and illustrators, the team frequently hear how publishers are realising the benefits of tapping into the publicity potential of their visual creators.

Website: jabberworks.co.uk | Shop: sarahmcintyre.bigcartel.com | Campaign: PicturesMeanBusiness.com

Nicola Solomon (host) – Chief Executive, Society of Authors

Nicola Solomon’s role encompasses protecting authors’ interests in negotiations/disputes with publishers and agents, advising individual authors and campaigning for authors’ rights, as well as for the wider cultural environment.

Nicola is an expert in the publishing industry and the associated law, from copyright and defamation, to privacy, data protection and contract. She is a Deputy District Judge and sits on the board of the International Authors’ Forum and the British Copyright Council and the European Writers Council.

At the SoA Nicola liaises with the Management Committee to set and implement strategy and policy and to manage finance. She liaises with external organisations and manages the SoA team of professional staff.

Any questions? Contact us

SoA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our Blackwell’s virtual store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate link a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


Book your ticket below.

SoA Members: FREE
Standard price: £10

All SoA @ Home professional development events are free for members but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE

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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




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27 April
10:00 - 11:15 BST
Free – £10.00
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