Website Review: The Passive Voice

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Website Review:

The Passive Voice


J. A. Marlow

Copyright © 2011, J. A. Marlow, All Rights Reserved


There are many sites with advice, articles, and workshops for the craft of writing. There are chats and forums. The previous is all well and good, but there are other sides to the being a writer. One of those is the business side. There are a few sites and blogs which deal with other aspects, but the blog "The Passive Voice" is a bit different.


"The Passive Voice" is a blog from a retired attorney who once was involved in high-stakes litigation and contract negotiation. He now looks at the back-end of publishing through legal-tinted eyeglasses. The observations that come out of such a viewpoint are not only fascinating and thought-provoking, but also educational. Additionally, he looks at both traditional publishing and Indie publishing issues.


The author of the "Passive Voice" blog does not use his real name, going instead by the name of "The Passive Guy" and has the following disclaimer: Passive Guy is an attorney, but he doesn’t practice law any more. Passive Guy is most definitely not your attorney and is not giving nor will he ever give you legal advice. For legal advice, go hire an attorney who is practicing law. Passive Guy’s rants, examples of contract language, discussions of litigation issues, etc., are for discussion purposes only.


So, is it worth a read for only educational and discussion purposes only? Oh yes!


It is a unique blog. The Passive Guy is not afraid to challenge what is considered 'standard' in the publishing world and compare it with what is standard contract law and meaning in the rest of the business world. He also takes contract clauses and breaks them down to explain in plainer-language what the clause possibly could mean in a court of law. And he does it with a sense of humor, an ease of explanation, and a touch of snark. He also links to other viewpoints and contract news in other places.


He is asking for donations to a contract collection he's just started (after taking out any identifying information) so he can compare clauses from various publishers and agents. In past blogs he has discussed possible meanings for portions of non-compete clauses and royalty rate calculations.The discussions after the blogs add to the wealth of information.


For example:


How to Read a Book Contract – How Long Does It Last?  This is a look at thoughts and ideas on the length a contract will last, and a few things to watch for.


How to Read a Book Contract – What’s Not There?  A discussion of items an author should make sure are included in a publishing contract.


How to Read a Book Contract – For Avoidance of Doubt:  An interesting potential clause that is standard in other industries that could possibly protect the author in case there are sneaky little clauses in a contract that can come up to bite if the partnership goes sour. Of course, we all hope this doesn't happen!


Don’t Sign Dumb Contracts: A little tough-love for authors. Basically, read and think before you sign on the dotted line!


What other information does this blog provide to a writer?


He includes links and snippets from other blogs concerning the writing craft, marketing and promotion, inspiration, information concerning the Indie Author movement, and news media coverage over the publishing business.


For Example:

What Does the J.K. Rowling Announcement Mean for Indie Authors?

19 Ways Not to Start a Book:

5 Ways to Edit With Fresh Eyes

There’s a word for a writer who never gives up… published


"The Passive Guy" posts regularly, sometimes multiple times a day, about legal thoughts, general writing news, and changes/disruptions in the publishing business. In addition to the information he brings to the blog himself, it is a good way to discover other blogs and keep updated on changes occurring in various facets of the industry.


You will not regret adding this blog to your regular reading and educational efforts.