Did you know that Wikipedia is one of the most popular ways of doing research on the web? In some ways, that’s kind of crazy. After all, it’s not experts who post information on Wikipedia — covering everything from the Berlin Wall to the history of the Slinky toy. It’s your average guy who creates a Wikipedia page about something or someone and puts in what they know. Other people can then add to that information. It’s basically a wealth of knowledge from common folk (another example of Web 2.0) that stays there unless someone else finds it to be incorrect.
So what does this have to do with authors? Well, every author should have their own Wikipedia page! Sure, JK Rowling and Danielle Steele have them. But why shouldn’t you? In doing a quick search, I found that a few of the authors I work with already have Wikipedia pages. See Eliot Pattison’s page as an example.
Wikipedia offers authors like you another opportunity to get more information about yourself out to readers, publishers and media. It’s your chance to talk about who you are, what you write about, and tout your accomplishments (awards, for instance) and books. And within the “External Links” section at the bottom of the page, you can include a link to your author website, boosting your traffic there as well.
Once your Wikipedia page is built, it will start showing up near the top of search results for your name, so it should get immediate results.
A few caveats, though…
- Wikipedia is not a social networking site. Any information you post about yourself needs to be in the third person and sound serious and professional. It’s not like a profile on Facebook!
- Wikipedia does not allow promotional information on their site. So don’t talk about your “breathtaking” novel or your “ground-breaking” biography. Simply state facts and you’ll do just fine.
The best part about Wikipedia is that it’s free! So if you haven’t done so already, create an account with Wikipedia and start building a Wikipedia page about yourself. It’s just one more way to get your information out there to the world.