Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Drive-by Oneings

A site which shall go unnamed, and which has zero moderation, allows registered users to leave rankings on books, whether they've actually read them or not, and without leaving a review or anything even closely resembling constructive criticism. The most heinous crime that results in such unrestrained freedom is one that makes authors shudder at the very name. Drive-by Oneings. That's right folks. It's happening right here in our safe little world.

In case you've been living under a rock and have no idea what this horrible epidemic is all about, I'll clue you in. But beware...this is not for the faint of heart. In fact, I hereby state that I will not be responsible for the consequences of you reading the rest of this post. Here's how it's done. Bear in mind I braved torture to obtain this information...

You register on the site, usually under a name no one recognizes. The site even allows you to make your profile private so no one can obtain clues to your true identity. Then you stalk your victims. No one knows for sure how or why victims are chosen. Some believe it's excessive use of certain words in their books, or the color of the clothing worn by the models on the cover art. But one thing is certain...once an author has been the victim of a Drive-by Oneing, they're never safe again.

The perpetrator selects all the books of their intended victim and ranks them with ONE STAR. One lonely little star that sends the author's overall ranking plummeting to the basement, and is on the site forever and ever, for the entire world to see. And, as if this weren't bad enough, the perp doesn't leave a comment. Not even one. The victim has no idea what she did to deserve the Oneing, if the perp actually read her books and just hated them, or if she was chosen for another reason. This is a random, senseless crime which often leaves its victims bewildered and depressed for years, unable to finish another manuscript, and questioning everything they write from that point forward.

Each year dozens of writers are affected by this crime, yet often it goes unrecognized. If the author speaks out publicly, she's told to "suck it up" or "that's just how it goes." We're in desperate need of a national support group for this silent yet deadly crime. At the very least I think we should try to raise awareness by way of infomercials, or perhaps a spot on a national talk show. How about Jerry or Maury? Surely they would understand this depravity and welcome the chance to bring it to the homes of millions of viewers.

Have you been the recent victim of a Drive-by Oneing? I urge you to seek professional help. At the very least you should let a trusted friend know you've been a victim. Write your Congressperson. Or better yet, contact Rosie O'Donnell. I hear Oprah's given her a show again on the new Oprah network.