Nick Wilford on Joining Writers’ Networks Online

Hi all! Today, I’m welcoming one of my oldest blogging friends as part of his blog tour. Take it away, Nick!

Thanks, Misha! As writers and bloggers, we all know it can be hard to push ourselves and our stories out there in the social media world, but the rewards can be immense. I don’t think it’s like we imagine before starting either – at least, not for me. Today I want to talk a little about how we take those baby steps into declaring ourselves as a writer online and what motivates us.

My collection features four short stories and one flash piece alongside my novella A Change of Mind. Four of these saw their first outing some five years ago now, on the critique website ABC Tales.

I actually came across this site by accident. I’d just written my first novel over a two and a half year period and I had sent it to an editor to have a look at. During this time I had not done a jot of social networking in terms of calling myself a writer – I was on Facebook, but barely, so I wasn’t really socially active online at all. I was a classic lurker – every now and then I would Google “writers’ websites”, come across a few forums, skim a few posts, shut them down again and that was it. My sister just happened to have a connection to an editor in London and told me she was willing to have a look at my book. So I sent it, but it would be a year before the reply came. So I brainstormed and wrote a lot of short stories – at least I’d done this before, unlike a novel.

I never gave a thought to anyone critiquing my stories. I didn’t have anything to lose, I just thought I’d write them and submit to places, but I had quite high hopes. Naïve, just a bit? I did many searches for magazines and websites and had already submitted to some when I came across a listing for ABC Tales, which said anyone could publish there just by uploading their story. Well, that sounded good to me. I clicked across and found pages where each story constituted a thread with comments underneath from the community. Ah – there was more to this than met the eye. Perhaps it might just be a good idea to get a little bit of feedback!

The standard of the postings was overall very high, and I felt a little intimidated. Nonetheless, I left a few tentative comments and suggestions on stories before posting my own. Again, with no expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by the responses because I wasn’t sure my stories were up to much at all. For the first time, I saw the value of making writerly connections online, and I thank those kind contributors. I would still recommend ABC Tales to anyone.

Six months later, I got my first true publication, in Writer’s Muse magazine, but it would still be another year before I started my blog. This was after I had received the feedback from the novel editor, which advised my book would need an incredible amount of work. Yes, all helpful, but I was wringing my hands over this deconstruction of my baby after I’d received favourable responses to my shorter work. I wondered if I was meant to write novels at all. Eventually I started another one, and shortly after that I started my blog in order that I could talk to people about it. And I’m still here talking to you about it today.

What was your route into your writerly networking life? What was your motivation for doing so, and have those motivations changed at all?

Title: A Change of Mind and Other Stories
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: Speculative fiction
Format: Ebook only
Page/word count: 107 pages, approx. 32,000 words
Release date: 25th May 2015
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing


A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine. 

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.  But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…  

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone. 

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.  

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.  

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.  

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.

Purchase Links:

Meet the author:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter or Goodreads.

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A to Z Challenge: Help

This is probably one of the more important things that writers should know about writing. We all need help at some point.

This can possibly taking the form of getting your spouse to do the dishes so you can steal some writing time. Other times, it’s when you’re stuck writing and the only person who can help will be another writer.

When I started out, (long before I started blogging) I was lucky enough to have a published writer in the house. However, I started moving over to the spec fic dark side and my Gran just isn’t all that interested in it (she writes poetry and romance.) Also, she publishes exclusively in South Africa and I focused more on foreign markets, so it just meant that… well… I needed a lot of help from foreign writers.

Sometimes, that makes for… interesting… dinner conversation.

Back to the point (I’m afraid I’m REALLY good at digressing.)

Sometimes, you might simply need to have someone who knows read your story and tell you it doesn’t suck. And if it does suck, to tell you what’s wrong.

Sometimes, you will be so tired of looking at your own story while editing it that you can’t see your own mistakes anymore. Or you’ll need someone to read your query. Or to say “There there” when you got your hundredth rejection (trust me. Non-writers don’t EVER get it).

No writer is an island. At some point, we all need some advice or a helping hand. So get yourself involved in the writing community.

Just remember: Be the friend you need. 

You want to be helped down the line? MAKE SURE YOU HELP OTHER WRITERS RIGHT NOW. 

What do you usually need help with?