Current cover of The VesselLast month, I sent a polished draft of The Runner – The Devil Particle Series Book Three to six critical readers for their feedback. I assumed they’d suggest only a few scene tweaks, and I’d be good to go with the planned release date of November 20, 2024. Four of the readers loved the characters and the pacing and wanted just those few tweaks. Awesome! Then I heard from the last two. They both suggested an entire rewrite. Darn!

A few weeks later, I wrote a six-page sneak peek of the next book in the Leo Townsend Series. I’m re-releasing the first book, Carpe Diem, Illinois with a new cover and I want to include a link to my newsletter in the back of the book. To entice readers to sign up for the newsletter, I’ll give them this sneak peek. As always, I looked for a second set of eyes on it and sent a draft to my two daughters. You can probably guess where this is going — one daughter loved it, and the other wanted major changes.



Five Stages of Writer’s Grief

When I receive critical comments from trusted sources, I go through the five stages of a writer’s grief. First, I deny that there’s anything wrong with what I’ve written, then I get angry at the critics (what the hell do they know anyway?). I bargain with myself (maybe just a few quick changes will suffice?), I get depressed (“I suck as a writer,” “I’ll never be able to do this,”), and finally, I accept what needs to be changed.

That doesn’t mean I’m a pushover, editing my work to suit the whim of readers. After all, I am the author, these are my stories. I have the last word on the world I’ve created and what my characters experience in that world. So, how do I know when to make changes and when not to? If I get two or more similar opinions of what’s not working, I consider making a change. But, most importantly, I trust my gut.


Trusting My Gut

When I sent The Runner to those six critical readers, I thought the manuscript was good enough. Because of the feedback I received, and after going through the five stages of writer’s grief, I realized I wasn’t satisfied with “good enough.”

The Vessel book cover 3DI want every one of my novels to be the best book I can write at that time. If I succeed, then each book will be better than the last because I’ve learned more about writing and have spent time practicing my craft. My daughter, one of the two critical readers who wanted a rewrite of The Runner, has told me that The Vessel – The Devil Particle Series Book Two is the best thing I’ve ever written. I want her to say that about The Runner. So, you guessed it, I’m going for the rewrite.

Contrarily, my gut tells me that the sneak peek of the third book in the Leo Townsend Series is terrific. I had a lot of fun writing it, and that’s always a good sign — for me, and the reader. So, I’m making a few grammatical tweaks and leaving it as is. Once I re-release Carpe Diem, Illinois in a few weeks, I’ll share that sneak peek with you.


Writers, how do you handle feedback from editors, agents, publishers, and readers? Readers, what is the number one thing that makes a novel hard to put down? Let me know!


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Hello! I'm award-winning thriller writer, Kristin A. Oakley. Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you the prequel to The Devil Particle Series.

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