Have you heard the one about Lori Jareo? She thought she could get away with self-publishing a Star Wars novel called Another Hope and selling it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble because she figured, “If it’s not a commercial project, I don’t see any problem…Yes, it is for sale on Amazon, but only my family, friends and acquaintances know it’s there.” That is, until real professional writers like Lee Goldberg, his brother Tod, and John Scalzi found out and blogged about it. Soon after Lucasfilm staffers learned of the book’s existence (apparently from a fansite message board), Jareo’s book and its promotional website were blasted out of existence like the Death Star paying a visit to Alderaan—only it’s not like millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced, because just about everybody who saw the book during its short existence seems to agree that it was pretty damn awful. (“I made a conscious decision to remove my editor’s cap as I was writing this story,” Jareo told an interviewer. “After so many years of being an editor, I wanted the creative freedom of being a writer.” That’s a clear cue to laugh our heads off.)
The amazing thing is that Jareo isn’t some total amateur mooning over Luke Skywalker in her basement; she’s one of the founding publishers of WordTech Communications, a small POD poetry press. In other words, somebody who ought to know enough about intellectual property rights to know better—and yet she actually includes Another Hope in her bio for a writing conference!