Use Your Wikipedia Donation to Support Indie Authors


writers indigo ribbonOnline encyclopedia Wikipedia has begun its annual pitch for donations to continue operating as an independent, non-profit information resource. Founder Jimmy Wales will once again ask those who visit the website to donate “to protect and sustain Wikipedia.” This year, I encourage you to put this donation to a better use. Please use the money to buy books published by independent (indie) authors.

Wikipedia is biased against indie authors it considers “non-notable” unless their works are cited by “credible” sources. In general, it prefers traditional media and does not recognize citations from social media sites, blogs, writers’ networks, self-publishing websites, or indie awards. Unless you are noted by select information resources, you’re out of luck receiving recognition from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia also strongly discourages autobiographies. It prefers second- and third-hand sources, which it considers more accurate and objective than first-hand accounts, even though such sources may be biased. Whether the biographer has an ulterior motive or a conflict of interest is irrelevant. Wikipedia assumes that its system to evaluate biases in its articles is sufficient, although its view on autobiographies suggests that it is not robust enough to root out misstatements, factual errors, or embellishments regardless of source.

If you are an author with a publicist who writes an article about you linked to a source Wikipedia that considers credible, then welcome to the club. If you’re a successful self-published indie author with an independent network, you’re out of luck. You and your books are not eligible to be included in Wikipedia. Don’t ask your friend to post your biography for you. Anonymous monitors who evaluate articles according to the site’s self-determined criteria will delete you.

Most self-published authors do not qualify for Wikipedia profiles. This does a disservice to the many hard-working, established writers who have chosen to self-publish. The rapidly expanding self-publishing industry operates differently than traditional publishing, and indie authors are more apt to promote each other through social media, writers’ circles, and independent networks than to wait for recognition from traditional media. Wikipedia’s rules are better suited to the pre-Internet and pre-social media eras. Rather than adapting to changes in the publishing industry, it simply chooses to exclude most indie authors.

This year, please support independent authors. The money saved from not donating to Wikipedia will buy some great books and recognize outstanding authors.

Here are three independent author communities with thousands of books to choose from:

Independent Author Network

Independent Author Index

World Literary Café

Thank you for your support.

books

The opinions expressed in this article represents solely the views of the author. Encyclopedia image courtesy of Microsoft; the indigo ribbon is public domain.

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

The More Things Change…


…the more they stay the same.  So Windows Spaces Live became WordPress, and Windows Live updated its Writer blog writing program to look more like Microsoft Word (which begs the question, why not incorporate it into Word?).  The format is completely different, though.  Draft blog entries and entries that have already been posted no longer appear, making me wonder where they went.  Why is it that all tech companies have this annoying habit of completely reinventing everything with new iterations of the software program or web site?  They assume that users will be happy with the changes or will soon learn how to use the newer version.  Yet history is littered with product experiments that failed miserably.  New Coke, anyone?

Good Thing I Archive


Spaces Live is shutting down and asked bloggers if they want to migrate to WordPress.com.  Like any obedient customer, I said yes and migrated the World Adventurers site to WordPress.com before Spaces Live terminates my account.  Microsoft said it would fully migrate the blog, but only the past year moved over to WordPress!  The rest seems to have disappeared into the Great Internet Recycling Bin.  Yikes.

Good thing that I archived all of my old blog postings offline, or I would have lost them.  I may repost some of the oldies but goodies.  If I hadn’t done due diligence archiving posts over the past half decade, I would have been quite distraught over losing about five years’ worth of postings.

Thanks a lot, Microsoft, for warning us bloggers ahead of time.  Hopefully WordPress.com will treat us better.

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