Wikipedia is a very, very odd beast with its own very specific community structure that operates behind the scenes. If you’re looking up general facts about a U.S. President or trying to find the capital of a Latin American country, then it’s an amazing resource. If you want to learn about a more recent subject, however, it can be hit or miss. After all, it’s been well established that corporations will alter Wikipedia pages to suit their interests, and misinformation will often persist on Wikipedia because the corrections aren’t sourced to the community’s particular guidelines.
So what does this mean for you as a self-published author? Will you be able to make your own Wikipedia page to reflect your career or your published works? Let’s take a look at the steps that go into creating a Wikipedia page and whether or not it’s feasible for you.
Do not promote yourself
The biggest reason that Wikipedia pages get taken down is that they are seen as too promotional. You don’t want the reader to be able to tell that you wrote this article about yourself! If you want to redirect people to where they can find your writing, either leave it in the footnotes or work it as naturally as you can into the body of the post.
Keep it concise.
Usually when you write a biography, the impulse is to provide your audience with as many details as possible. However, if you’re not Tom Cruise or Ellen Degeneres, nobody cares in particular about which hospital you were born in and which of your elementary school teachers inspired you to become a writer. Stick to the very basic, verifiable information about yourself.
We hate to say it, but if you’re just starting out then you really shouldn’t bother with the Wikipedia page until you’ve achieved some form of success. If Wikipedia doesn’t see you as notable, your article is sure to get deleted almost immediately. What makes you worthy of being included on Wikipedia? Has your book made it to a bestseller list? Have you participated in any other projects that would be worth mentioning? Make sure you mention it or your article might get removed.
Every little piece of information on Wikipedia needs to be completely verifiable. Make sure you have sources for everything you write. You might think, “But I’m writing it about myself, so I’m a source, aren’t I?” That’s not how Wikipedia works. Check out the guidelines for identifying reliable sources as outlined by Wikipedia here.
Ask someone else to write it
Having a hard time being unbiased? Ask someone else to write the article for you. You can hire someone to do it or just ask a friend — either way, being a level removed may give your article the added authenticity it needs to get through the approval page.
Create an Article
Once you have your article complete and saved in a secure part of your computer (don’t upload it straight to Wikipedia without saving it — you might lose it for good!), here’s how you actually get it onto Wikipedia, as outlined by the amazing Youtube channel, Howcast:
We hope that this has helped. Remember not to get discouraged if you don’t think you’re notable enough for Wikipedia. At the very least, you’ve put together an amazing author biography that you can use for the future!