Book contests / writing

ABNA Update–I’m In (Uploaded I Mean)!

I had a busy weekend. ABNA is taking entrants starting today. I had to go through all 400 pages of

my book (I got it down to 399). I looked for technical stuff, grammar and spelling, egregious plotting errors (I found my main character chatting in a scene she wasn’t in–I fixed that)  because that’s all I had time for in two days. I didn’t move sections or rethink decisions, just tweaked anything that sounded off.

I also created a query letter with a one-paragraph overview and a synopsis with a full-page overview. ABNA only wants the short one, but doing the longer version helped me think through my novel, come up with the themes and threads that should be pointed out to a reviewer.

Then, there was the bio–what to mention about myself. I stuck with basics, the details that would make me a credible author for a military thriller.

I think I should rename the book. I named it To Hunt a Cruiser because it’s the sequel to the first novel, To Hunt a Sub. I like the second name better. I could use it since I haven’t published the prequel, but I’m still hopeful. I don’t think To Hunt a Cruiser will make sense to anyone but a Navy person. They’ll know a cruiser is a warship, and a pretty exciting one at that. The rest of the world might think it’s a bicycle.  I’m thinking Search and Destroy or 20 Days (I have a countdown in the book–the drama unfolds over 20 days). You-all can help me. Which title would make you want to pick up the book and see what the flap said about it.


8 thoughts on “ABNA Update–I’m In (Uploaded I Mean)!

  1. Maybe it’s the bloke in me, I preferred Search & Destroy.

    20 days – until my dog dies, until I get out of jail, until the summer ends…

    I don’t mind To Hunt a Cruiser either – I don’t know what a cruiser is, but I like a little bit of technical material on subjects I know nothing about – early Tom Clancy was like that.

    I read once that Tim Ferris (4hr work week & 4hr body) before deciding on the title , found his short list of 3 – 5 titles, created a landing page on his blog for each title (with the same short description).

    Then spends a small amount (~$50?) on Google Adwords, to see which title gets the most traffic.

    This might be overkill for ABNA, but a good way to crowd source.

    Good luck!


    • I s’pose the cover would say the book’s a thriller, giving a clue as to what the 20 days was. I do want drama in the title, because it’s a military thriller. A cruiser is the most powerful warship in the fleet–all-round offense and defense, but most people don’t know that. The book’s selling point is the cruiser’s naval battle. I go into detail on its weapons, etc. Pretty cool if you’re into that sort of thing, but the cruiser is not the main character.

      The truth is, whatever I pick, if I find an agent, they’ll change it so I don’t think it’s worth the fretting time. Thanks for your thoughts.


    • It’s a thriller, and I wonder if it’s too close to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thriller, 61 Hours. I wonder if that’s why I like the title so much, because that book was so great. I have a few months to ponder it…

      Hey Sheila, my daughter’s in the Navy. Where’s your son serve?


  2. You have been one busy girl with the conference and now your submittal. The life of a writer.

    That’s a good idea–20 days: Countdown to–well, I’ll have to come up with something. I’ll be querying agents this summer, so I want to have the right title. I posted excerpts from the book on Create Space under both titles to see if either drew more readers. So far, I have 23 for Search and Destroy and 0 for 20 Days. I wonder what that means?

    Talk soon.


  3. Hi, Jacqui! 20 Days strikes me the most, but I think a subtitle is needed: 20 Days–Countdown to …

    I just entered ABNA too, with Separation of Faith. Wonder how long it will take to get the 5000 entries before cutoff.


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