By Brett Battles

Okay, so today is actually my birthday. True story, I was born 6 minutes to midnight, so 6 minutes shy of April Fools Day (not that there is anything wrong with that for any of you celebrating tomorrow.) My dad actually heard two cries, one before midnight and one after, and thought that my mom had had twins. In the rush to make sure I wasn’t born on April 1st (apparently the doctor thought that was a bad thing), clamps were used, and my head was a bit pair shaped for a few hours…insert “so that’s what happened” jokes here.

Anyway, I’ve been so busy, I almost forgot it was my birthday. Why? Well, next week t the new Quinn novel THE SILENCED hits stores, and I’m on a mini tour for that, but it’s not the only new book I have out. In fact, it’s the other one, plus a couple short stories I want to talk to you about today…all three of which are available now.

Like my friend and fellow Murderati Dusty, I have jumped into the world of electronic self-publishing. Firmly. Last week I released two short stories and a brand new novel, and those are just the start of more to come.

Let’s talk novel first:

LITTLE GIRL GONE is the first in a new series featuring a troubled man named Logan Harper.

Logan isn’t looking for redemption. He just wants to live in peace and forget his troubled past. But one morning his quiet life is upended when he interrupts the attempted murder of his father’s best friend Tooney.

The next thing Logan knows, he’s on his way to Los Angeles, searching for Tooney’s missing granddaughter and uncovering a sinister plot connected not only to Tooney’s Burmese past, but also to the boardrooms of corporate America.

As the odds stack up against him, Logan must fall back on old skills from the life he’d rather forget. He’s made a promise, and the only way to fulfill it is to bring the girl home alive.

You can get LITTLE GIRL GONE for only 2.99 at the Amazon Kindle Store,, Smashwords, and, in the UK for £2.12, the Amazon UK Kindle Store.

I’ve also recorded myself reading the first chapter, had have embedded the player here:

I really enjoyed writing Logan, and look forward to created more stories featuring him and the cast of characters around him. And a quick thanks to Jeroen ten Berge—the same designer who Dusty uses—on the awesome cover art!

On the short story front…


JUST ANOTHER JOB – A Jonathan Quinn Story, is a glimpse into the life of a cleaner, a man who works in the shadows.

Not everyone who gets shot is supposed to be shot. And those who are shot don’t always die right away. It’s not Quinn’s job to kill people, but it is his job to clean them up. Sometimes, though, they’re not quite ready to go.

JUST ANOTHER JOB is only .99 at the Amazon Kindle Store,, Smashwords, and, in the UK for £0.70, the Amazon UK Kindle Store.

Cool cover by our own Robert Gregory Browne. Thanks, Rob!


PERFECT GENTLEMAN, a tale of a different kind of family.

The girls call Wade Norris, “Papa.”

He’s not their dad. He’s not their uncle. He’s not even related to them. In fact, he was born thousands of miles from the Philippines, the place he now calls home.

No, Wade’s none of those things. He’s their Papasan. He runs the go-go bar where the girls dance and entertain. But that doesn’t make them any less than a family.

And rule number one: don’t mess with the family.

PERFECT GENTLEMAN originally appeared in the KILLER YEAR: STORIES TO DIE FOR anthology edited by Lee Child.

You can purchase PERFECT GENTLEMAN for only .99 at the Amazon Kindle Store,, Smashwords, and, in the UK for £0.70, the Amazon UK Kindle Store. (

Once more, Rob did the cover.

What better way to celebrate my birthday than to pick up one (or all three) of these? Okay, that’s blatant pandering, but it was too funny to resist.

These are just the beginning. I have another full length novel which will be out before the end of April, and be warned, it is a heart stopper! I’m also planning on releasing the first book in my new YA series HERE COMES MR. TROUBLE around the same time. And there will be more short stories and novels before the years out.

Why have I chosen this route? For one reason, I write a lot, and things have just been stockpiling much to my annoyance. But now with the freedom that self-publishing offers, I no longer have to wait a year or more before a book comes out after I finish it. For another, I like being the one in charge instead of the alternative. And I love the idea that I can write what I want and not worry if someone thinks it won’t do well, so it shouldn’t be published, or will be under-published, etc. I was as stunned as most of you were by Barry Eislers announcement last week on Joe Konrath’s blog. Stunned, yes, but not shocked. It was coming, and I completely understand Barry’s reasons, and, quite honestly, I agree with him. That’s why months ago I had come to many of the same conclusions had have been working to get to this point. 

I’m excited about this new digital world, and am going to be a willing, enthusiastic participant.


If you have any questions—about the books, about epublishing, about the weather—put them in the comments, and let’s discuss!


37 thoughts on “LITTLE GIRL GONE

  1. Barbie

    I don't really have any questions, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Brett!!!! I love birthdays and always make a big fuss out of them — I mean, you have a day that's all about you, right??? You gotta enjoy it — so, I hope you will, too. I wish you all the very best in the world. And, really, make it all about you. You're allowed for a day and no one can say a damned thing ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. PK the Bookeemonster

    Happy Annual Event! And congratulations on the new book and other stories being released. You've been busy.
    My friend at work, when asked about her birthday, always says it's the last day in February. Technically she was born on February 29th, just a few minutes after midnight. Her father convinced the nurse to put it on the other side of midnight on her birth certificate because she said in her family's heritage it's bad luck to be born on Leap Day.

  3. David DeLee

    Hey, Brett.

    Happy Birthday, man. Enjoy the day, and many, many more.

    Congrats on the releases, all of them. That's awesome. I do have a question (you asked) about pricing. Why/how did you decide to price your novel at $2.99?

    I am curious about the pricing stratagy authors are using, and of course I have my own, very strong opinions (don't we all) about this. I believe $2.99 is too low to price an e-novel (unless promotionally) and here are my thoughts regarding overall e-pricing.

    Short stories (500 to 15k word length) $ 0.99 — a no brainer there
    Novellas, novelettes, short, short story collections, (10-60, 70k word length) $2.99
    (why $2.99? That's the magical threshold to higher royalty rates)
    Novels, full-size anthothogies, etc. (60k + words) $4.99 or $5.99
    (I'm on the fence between the two price points)

    I believe consumers facing e-book choices today are determining quality based on price (for new authors to them — Someone who buys and likes any author they are familiar with will buy them, almost regardless of price), but for new, untried authors I think price will influence their perception about the quality of the work. Part of this is due to the legacy publishers holding the line on high pricing. To the average consumer (I believe) $9.99 pricing represents the big guns — the Pattersons, Cusslers, Roberts, etc. The $2.99 price point is viewed (IMO) by the consumer as discounters, and the mid-listers are hanging around in the 4-5-6 dollar range.

    So, IMO, if prices equal quality in the mind of the consumer, then the 4-5-6 dollar price point makes the most sense. It's less than the cost of a paperback, higher than the discounted (inferior quality?) $2.99, and of course, less than the overpriced $9.99 legacy publishers. (I mean pricing e-books HIGHER than the eventual paperback — thatmakes no sense on any level).

    This is all brand new territory, and changes are occurring everyday, so I'm curious as to what others think and how they plan to price there work?

    Oh, and since you asked for questions about the weather. How the hell can we be expecting 6-12 inches of snow here in the Northeast on April first? Answer me that one. Please.

    David DeLee

  4. Richard Maguire

    Happy Birthday, Brett.

    My question is: How do you keep up that writing schedule? Are you a runner? Go to the gym? Or just spend all day in a coffee shop…

    I've read THE CLEANER and enjoyed it very much. It'd make a good movie. Hope to catch up with the other Quinn titles soon.

    And since you encouraged readers to ask about the weather: How is it today, in L.A.? Here in the mountains in southern Bavaria, spring seems to be settling in.

  5. Louise Ure

    Geez you've been busy, Brett. (And kudos to Rob for those great covers.) You have just the kind of drive to make this whole self-publishing thing work.

  6. Brett Battles

    David, while I get the point you are trying to make, it comes down to simple economics. At 2.99 I'm making almost three times what I would off of a mass paperback. Of course if I were to raise that to 3.99 or 4.99, I'd make more per book, but I would also sell less. I can't concern myself with the perception that books prices at certain levels denote their quality, and, honestly, while some readers may think that, I don't think the majority do.

    I want to sell books, and pricing them at a level that makes them an easy by while still maximizing my profits is, to me, a no-brainer. While I've had success in the traditionally published world, that does not necessarily mean I'll have success in the self-published world if I just through my books out there. Will I raise the prices someday? Who knows…maybe. What I do know is that I'm going to continue to write the best books I can, and put them out there at an attractive price.

    That's where I'm at right now…we'll see what I'm thinking in a year.

    And, yeah, a foot of snow on April 1st? Sounds like another reason to move to a warm weather state to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Brett Battles


    I look at what I do as job. A GREAT job, but a job. Think of me as a self-employed business owner. The only way my business is going to success is by my efforts. And I want to succeed. So I need to put in the time everyday. I make daily goals. I work on weekends when I can. I get up early everyday (4 a.m.) and am working usually by 5:45 or 6 a.m. Most days I'm at it for 9 to 10 hours, sometimes even 12 to 14. I am blessed with the ability to write quickly, so that helps.

    And today in L.A. weather-wise, it is BEAUTIFUL. Blue sky's, supposed to reach 80 degrees. The birds are singing, and I've got my windows and doors all open, letting in the breeze. Perfect day.

  8. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Happy Birthday, Brett!! Publishing a flood of new books/stories is a perfect way to celebrate – I'm especially looking forward to GIRL. (Though I suspect despite the title it's going to be as high testosterone as the Quinns…)

    On the price question – I'm doing an e book pricing experiment right now – dropped the price of my Screenwriting Tricks workbook to 2.99 and the sales doubled in two weeks – which doesn't mean I'm up to the same amount of money as I was getting at the 9.99 price, but we'll see what happens next month. The great thing about Kindle publishing is that you CAN experiment.

    And yes, So Cal weather IS spectacular today, why did I ever think I wanted to live anywhere else?

  9. David DeLee

    Thanks for the quick reply, Brett. And I see what you are saying. All of this is so new its hard to say what is right or wrong, much less what is right or wrong for each writer. I do wonder if in fact you (anyone) will sell twice as many books (or twice as few depending on your point of view) based solely on price.

    For an untried, untested author price plays a factor I would guess, (it does for me — I'll drop 6-7-8 dollars on a paperback or discount bin book for a new author, but not pony up $27 or $28 for a hardback except for a prove (to me) author) but, I think fans will buy your books whether they are priced at $2.99 or $4.99. If that is true, then I believe you are leaving money on the table. (I do believe 4 or 5 dollars is the max to price e-books because I think e-book readers do what a "bargain" compared to print paperback books — offsets the price of the reading device IMO).

    Further, I think word of mouth advertising does more to sell books, and thus sells them even at a higher per book price, than does discounting pricing to encourage volume movement. To think readers will only buy more books because they are priced low seems to me de-vaules the product and long term may serve to undermine writers ability to earn because we've educated the consumer to expect the lower price.

    I know Joe Konrath has done a lot of eperimenting with pricing, with some higher priced books selling better than lower priced ones. To me, this suggests a book is liked better than another and thus perhaps talked about more, boosting sales based on reader recommendation over price. But all that aside you are right, who knows what will happen in a week or a month from now, much less a year.

    Interesting stuff all around. Thanks for posting the topic and allowing me to rant. Great
    job and good luck with it all.

    David DeLee

  10. Brett Battles

    David, all good points. I would also say that though I do have fans, to the major of readers I am also a new name, so that plays into the my thinking about getting it out there as easily as possible. Who knows, though? Everything is so up in the air. I'm sure I'll be doing a lot of the same experimenting that Joe's done.

  11. pari noskin taichert

    Happy birthday, Brett!

    And congrats on the new books. I love all this discussion about ebooks. My thinking has certainly changed tremendously. I've put two up so far — from reverted rights — but am going to be publishing my first original fiction in April. What incredible opportunities we have as writers to connect with our readers w/o worrying as much about middlemen. It's very exciting.

  12. Dudley Forster

    Hey, Brett Iโ€™d wish you a Happy Birthday, but as the Great Eeyore says, โ€œAfter all, what are birthdays? Here today and gone tomorrowโ€. ~ From THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER

    As for ePub – To quote from the source of true wisdom, my Dilbert calendar, โ€œChange is good. You go first.โ€

    Also, glad to see Rob has you covered.

    PK โ€“ My goofy daughter, Miriam, got married on February 29th

    Alex โ€“ Thanks a lot. I bought it at $9.99 ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. David DeLee

    Yes. A brave new world. I'm excited by all of it.
    As I said, good luck, and if you can, keep us posted on how it goes for you.

    David DeLee
    Who's going to the store to buy more rock salt. Sheesh.

  14. Pop Culture Nerd

    The sun knew it was your birthday and came out bright and shiny for you.

    You're the rare writer who writes faster than I can read. Speaking of which, gotta get back to reading HCMT.

    Hope your day is magnificent.

  15. Rob Gregory Browne

    Brett, happy, happy!

    Alex, I think you need to give Dudley a discount on the next book… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    David DeLee, when I look at the Amazon Kindle bestseller list, I see a lot of unknown authors who are selling their full-length novels for 99 cents. So apparently quite a few people out there are buying untested writers and aren't concerned with price-prejudice. I realize the perception is often "you get what you pay for," but in the case of ebooks there are so many BAD ones out there (present company DEFINITELY excluded) that readers are less inclined to spend more than a few bucks for them, for fear they'll wind up with a clinker.

    Oh, and in honor of Brett's birthday, I'm also selling my short story BOTTOM DEAL on Kindle for only 99 cents. See what a great guy I am…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I can piggy-back with the best of them!

  16. JT Ellison

    Happy Birthday Brett!

    I'm thrilled that you're putting out new book – and can't wait to download them all.

    As for weather, I'm in D.C. right now, where it is rainy, cold and nasty. But tomorrow will be 55 and sunny. It all balances out in the end, right???

  17. David DeLee


    You're making my point exactly. There is a lot of bad stuff out there and I think the argument could be made, a lot of those clinkers, as you call them, are priced at that level because the authors didn't have faith in their writing enough to set a higher price–or–they're priced at that point out of desperation, because they COULD NOT sell at a higher price. Does that mean all novels priced at 0.99 are garbage? Of course not. But, I believe it could be an indicator that the consumer might use. (as you say, present company here is definitely excluded–all of this, especially pricing, is so new, there is no right and wrong yet)

    Another point I would make, for those authors selling at $0.99, it took five sales to give them the same royalty return as one sale at even the low $ 2.99 price point. Seems to me, a new, untested writer should expect the least number of units sold, and maximize the return they can get from that while they build their name, fanbase, slowly and over time, and showing the consumer confidence in their product.

    That being said, obviously overpricing does not work, either, just look at the backlash to the legacy pricing of $ 9.99 and above. Which is why I believe the $4.99 – $5.99 price works for novels. It also gives me room to sell individual novelellas, novelettes and small collections at a $2.99 price, right between the full length novels and the generally accepted short story price point of $0.99.

    All of this is so new, and the amount of data so small, it's anybody's guess where the correct, right sweet spot for pricing is. It will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out.

    Again, just my humble opinion and musings on the issue ๐Ÿ™‚
    David DeLee

  18. Catherine

    Adding birthday wishes for whatever makes your day Brett.

    In terms of price I often consider my purchases based on what else I could be spending my money on.

    For me $2.99 is a loaf of bread on special or less than I pay on a double shot latte. In terms of return on investment. Ok the coffee is necessary to function at the moment, but I think the coffee buzz lasts less time than it would to read a book, and then mull over that experience. Heck here most birthday cards start at around $5.

    I agree that the covers are great. Simple and stylish. Good consistent branding implicit in the imagery.

    I'm kindel-less so seeing that Smashwords retails Little Girl Gone in so many formats is a real bonus for me. If it wasn't for my assignment due today I'd already be reading it…

    Thanks for the pending instant reading gratification…and good luck with the e publishing.

  19. KDJames

    Happy Birthday, Brett! Congratulations on becoming "a willing, enthusiastic participant." And kudos on the self-pub thing too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    You might not want to put it out here in public, but I am curious to know what your agent had to say about all this. Are you still planning to produce books for publication via the old model? What are you doing about editing on the self-pub work (any recommendations you want to share with someone looking for an editor)?

    I think this is very exciting news. Good for you. I'm going shopping now, to buy you a few birthday presents . . . of which I will be the recipient. Wait. That doesn't sound right. Let's just call it a mutually beneficial exchange facilitated by Amazon.

    Nice covers, Rob! Didn't realize you have hidden talents of the graphic kind.

  20. KDJames

    [Seriously, Brett, you all know you can count on me to ask the awkward tactless questions everyone wants the answers to but is too polite to ask. Don't feel obligated to answer, okay?] [Not that you do. Um, feel obligated.] [I'll just sit over here, quietly, dying of curiosity.] [Really. Have another piece of cake.]

  21. Rob Gregory Browne

    David, I don't think people are pricing their books at 99 cents because they don't have confidence in them. I think they're pricing them that low because they understand the principle of impulse buying.

    For example, I bought a Kindle about a week ago. Love it, by the way. Didn't think I would, but I love it. Anyway, I've bought SEVERAL of those 99 cent books simply because they sounded as if they might be good and — hell, what's 99 cents?

    I have bought a total of three $2.99 books. And those were written by my friends.

    So keeping the price low gives the author exposure he might not otherwise get. I think the first novel you put out should be at a price that people are willing to take a chance on you. Then, of course, you have to also have the goods. If you don't, you're sunk.

    Hook them, then bring the next one out at a higher price. If they like your work, they'll pay it.

  22. Brett Battles

    KD…sorry, I was away from my computer for the rest of the day by the time you posted. Can't really get into what my agent feels at this point, but we have had several very good conversations about it, and she's fully aware of what I'm doing.

  23. KDJames

    Thanks, Brett. You are gracious, as always, and I apologize for putting you in that position. I know better. I'd love to explain why I asked that question — not so you feel compelled to answer but because it's a conversation I'd like to see happen somewhere, someday. (And also so maybe people won't think I'm a complete idiot. Yeah, I know, too late. Didn't say it isn't a faint hope.)

    I wrote a really long comment about it but then decided it's better to just let it go. Probably not the time or place. Hope you had a great birthday!

  24. Velda Brotherton

    Interesting discussion about ebook pricing. I'm just working on my backlist of previously published western historical romances and am now thinking about what's the best price. Good thing we can experiment. Will go to Smashwords, but opt out on Kindle and pubit as I can make more money on my own publishing to those myself.
    This is an exciting new trend in publishing and one that may work out better for writers, for a change.

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