Friday, 5 October 2012

Tips for writers #5: Getting citations

Getting noticed as an author

Like many authors, you may collect snippets from reviews in the media which heap praise on your books, and then post these on your web site. A typical snippet might read "... absolutely brilliant!" ~ The Times.

Give full publication details

This is fine for your own purposes and to woo your own readership, but if you would like to later have these reviews and interviews cited and used in a Wikipedia article about you or your book, then it would be beneficial to provide more information, including the name of the author, the publication, the article or column title, the date, the page range and, if the material is on-line, the web address. Avoid simply giving a web address, as on-line resources may well be moved or taken down at a later date, leaving a broken link, a process known as "link rot". This will make it far easier for editors and readers at Wikipedia to locate and verify the source and for editors to decide for themselves how to represent the review or interview in the Wikipedia article.

What they won't do is simply take your word for it, quote the words "... absolutely brilliant!" and use your web page as a source. Firstly, your own web page is not a reliable, independent secondary source on this subject but a primary or self-published source. And secondly, they'll want to check out the complete review so that they can put the quote in context. For all they know, the source might not have actually meant that the book was "... absolutely brilliant!", the reviewer may have instead written "Though diehard fans of Joe Bloggs have used superlatives like 'absolutely brilliant!' to describe his latest offering, I had to grit my teeth to even finish this atrocious book." Okay, so this is an exaggeration, but you get the picture.

Feed reviewers and interviewers

Secondly, if you'd like to see certain details in your Wikipedia biography or book page, then point the reviewer or interviewer to an on-line biography or blurb on your web site or blog, and learn to feed the reviewer or interviewer with these details. They can then quote you or your sources and, if their publication is a reliable, independent secondary source, what they have to say can be used in your Wikipedia articles.

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

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