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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

There’s been speculation in the publishing industry and in the news whether or not Casey Anthony will get a book deal. Bestselling thriller writer, Jason Pinter, (former editor at Grand Central Publishing and St. Martin’s Press) posted his opinion on HuffPost Books on July 6th – Why Casey Anthony Will Not Get A Book Deal. (See his post HERE.) He compares her differing situation to O. J. Simpson and Amy Fisher and makes a compelling argument, but the media is still speculating that there is a deal to be had, even suggesting rumors of an advance of $750,000-$1,000,000.
Whether or not people believe she is innocent or guilty, I can’t imagine a mother who has lost a child seeking financial benefit from the ordeal to rehash the details of such a tragedy. If she is innocent and wants to convey her outrage at being falsely accused, that’s one thing. But if that were the case, why isn’t she crying for justice for her murdered daughter? And why did she not report little Caylee missing for a whole month?
The outcome of this case has angered me on so many levels from the botched prosecution, to the unprofessional behavior in the courtroom (the laughing prosecutor and the finger-shooting defense attorney, Cheney Mason), to the miscarriage of justice when a parent can lie to investigators and only be charged with a misdemeanor. (Not reporting your child missing for a month should fall into a different category of wrong.) And if you’ve been following this case recently, you would hear that her family has been selling family videos to the news media for significant dollars so the news can lace coverage with personal family images.
All I can see is the sweet face of a little girl who died a horrible, frightening death.

Jason Pinter thinks that no publishing house will touch her story. I want to believe he’s right—that the publishing industry has a moral line in the sand they will not cross—but being a cynic, I can’t be sure. (I thought that after the O. J. Simpson trial too.) Maybe it’s not a question of morality, but a business bottom line using the equation of MegaBucksAdvance + BookBoycott = LoserDeal. The editors that I’ve been blessed to work with would be appalled at making money off this tragedy. And I'm sure there have been and will continue to be controversial book deals done where a publisher struggles between their personal feelings and a business decision, but pushes ahead to make the deal anyway.
Casey Anthony’s family has already gained financially and it’s being reported that significant offers are being made for her appearance. Before this case, if I had written this kind of scenario into a fiction book—a mother lying to police, getting away with it with a virtual hand slap, and becoming a millionaire after she’s acquitted—readers might have called it outlandishly contrived. Reality is indeed stranger than fiction.
Now before anyone brings this up, there is a book deal coming. (I’m sure more than one.) Reported by the New York Times (see post HERE), St. Martin’s is pushing to release a book this year—“Inside the Mind of Casey Anthony,” written by forensic psychiatrist and television pundit, Keith Ablow. To clarify for Jason Pinter’s sake, this is a book ABOUT Casey Anthony—NOT a book she has written or benefits from financially. The book’s focus will be on why Caylee Anthony is dead and will be presented as a true crime story.
What do you think? Will Casey Anthony get her own book deal?


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