Wednesday, August 1

Joel Friedlander Interviews The Passive Guy/David Vandagriff

Ever seen David Vandagriff, aka The Passive Guy (PG)? Here's your chance! Joel Friedlander just put up an interview he did with PG--I'm going to continue calling him that--and introduces us to the man behind the The Passive Voice blog. Warning: It's over 40 minutes long, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here are the highlights:

Joel asked PG something I've been wondering: Why so many posts? PG publishes 6 to 8 posts a day. Granted, curating an article--especially one without commentary--takes less time than writing 1,000 words (trust me, I know!) but it's still a significant investment of one's time. Thus the question: Why do it?

I enjoyed PG's answer. Joel came up with the image of an 'information whale' taking in information about the world of publishing just as a whale strains skims plankton from the ocean. Like me, PG has dozens of Google alerts and a huge list of blogs in his RSS reader, and he posts those few articles that catch his attention, that he thinks are remarkable or interesting in some way.

For those of us who have blogs and find it interesting to talk about where we get most of our traffic from, I thought it was interesting that both PG and Joel said Twitter accounts for a good percentage of their pageviews each day. PG said it accounted for at least 25% while Joel mentioned that it is his second biggest source of readers. My experience is similar.

Conclusion: If you're not tweeting your blog posts on Twitter you're missing out on potential readers.

At the end of his interview PG gave four tips for anyone thinking of publishing their own work:

1. It's not hard
It's one of those things that I'd say was simple but not easy. For instance, how to lose weight is simple: eat less, but it's far from easy to do that. Publishing your own work in the same. What you need to do can be explained simply enough, but seeing the process through to the very end is far from easy.

2. You can control everything
I often hear authors say that they hate the cover their publisher chose for their book. This never happens when you self publish because you are in charge of all those details. As Mr. Monk might say: a gift and a curse.

3. It's fast!
In traditional publishing it is common to wait a year or more before your book is published. PG's wife got her edits back and her book was up for sale on Amazon a week later. Her editor (who used to be her publisher) was astonished, that sort of speed is unheard of in the traditional publishing industry.

4. You can fix your mistakes
This is a boon of biblical proportions for perfectionists. Time and again it happens that an author's book is published and then you find a typo. Sometimes on the first paragraph. The author cringes, the fans cringe, but what can you do about it? In traditional publishing you can't do anything, not even with the ebook version. It has been published and that's that. Not so if you're the publisher. Just correct the typo and upload the new version of your book. It's as simple as that.

To see the PG's interview for yourself read Passive Guy Speaks over on Joel's blog, The Book Designer.


  1. Karen,

    Thanks so much for linking to the interview, which I enjoyed quite a bit. If memory serves, I think it was PG who came up with the whale analogy, but either way there's a lot of interesting stuff we talked about.

    1. Hi Joel! Love your blog, thanks for all the terrific information you've shared over the years. About the whale analogy, I stand corrected. It was before my first cup of coffee, so anything's possible. ;)


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