This post originally appeared on Blood-Red Pencil in September 2009.If you're a published author, your logical objective of building a platform is to promote your books. Coming up in this series we'll also look more at leveraging free interactive content sites (also known as Web 2.0 sites) that are not specifically for authors.
Wikipedia is the first place many Internet users look for information on authors and books, however they discourage the creation of pages on yourself. Check with your publisher about having your information added to Wikipedia by their marketing department, or offer to create a profile for another author in exchange for the same favour. Also note that Wikipedia discourages publication of original research; you must be able to cite another author's work or link to information that proves your points.
Amazon has a blogging option for authors whose books it lists. Use this to keep your readers updated on your book launch, book tour, contests, encourage questions, and post snippets of interesting information.
Barnes and Noble has a well presented "Meet the Writer" feature which can include author interviews, biographical information, and trivia, and which should probably be organised by your publisher.
Squidoo has alternative category sub-sites called SquidLit, specifically for literature, and SquidWho, for people profiles. If your information is already on the web in places like Wikipedia and Amazon, Squidoo can simply pull the details from those sites and all you need to do is fill in the blanks. Be sure to personalise these pages, though. Let your readers know that this is your book and that you are a flaws-and-all human being with whom they can interact.
Google Knol, which is still in Beta, is geared towards professional articles, so will be ideal for publishing additional original research you've conducted and promoting your reputation as an expert in your field.
Next up we'll look at a statistical snapshot of the biggest Web 2.0 sites.
Elsa Neal was one of the early adopters of Squidoo after it came out of Beta and has been actively involved in the community as a Squid Angel and a Top 100 Giant Squid. She has more recently been experimenting with HubPages. She can also be found on her own website or sharing her writing insights at her Fictional Life Blog.