After the media tsunami surrounding the Casey Anthony trial and verdict, 'analysts' have come forward stating that the most reviled mother since Faye Dunaway in "Mommie Dearest" could reap nearly seven figures for a book deal. I think that's a crock.
Many people have pointed to other controversial celebrities who wrote successful books. O.J. Simpson. Amy Fisher. Even reality stars like the Kardashians and Snooki. But the fact is that in every one of those instances, the celebrity had a modicum of sympathy. O.J. Simpson was a Hall-of-Fame running back, an icon for decades, and he had a fair share of supporters both during and after the trial, especially since the case seemed to be divided along racial lines. With reality stars, as much as it pains me to admit, people actually 'like' the Kardashians and Snooki. Amy Fisher is a tougher one to understand--my feelings are twofold: her book was published 12 years after she shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco, and as a 17-year old her book was about coming to terms with the horrific act. Additionally, the man she was having an affair with, Joe Buttafuoco, was seen by many as the primary antagonist in the case.
Add to this the incredible amount of publicity attention this case has already received. No doubt that if Casey released a book Nancy Grace would unleash the blonde highlights from hell upon her, but the media moves fast, as does the public's attention. Next year is an election year. And unless a book comes out in the next six months, people will have moved on. They will mourn Caylee, and care even less for Casey. On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz took the media to task for 'merchandising tragedy' during the Anthony trial. While that cannot be changed, I think there would be public anger if, once again, the press seemed to drop everything to cover Casey Anthony yet again, given all the hugely important issues that will shape the nation over the coming 18 months.
Regardless, the fact is that there exists 'zero' sympathy right now for Casey Anthony. None. Yes, there is absolutely a morbid curiosity around her. I have no doubt a television special (which could be watched for free) would draw huge ratings. As would a magazine interview, which could be bought for $3.99 or, more likely, read online for free. There are some who feel that the prosecution did not meet the burden of proof required to convict Casey Anthony, but that is a far cry from convincing people to stand in line at a bookstore for her autograph.
In order to sell books, there needs to be a protagonist. There needs to be a figure readers can cheer for, relate to in some way. O.J. Simpson's controversial book If I Did It was a major bestseller because it allegedly was the closest the acquitted man ever came to a true confession. It was catharsis for many. I find it exceedingly hard to believe that, if Casey did kill Caylee, she would confess to it in a book. Yet if that were to happen, no publisher would want to face an incredible public outcry similar to what HarperCollins received upon the announcement of Simpson's If I Did It, which led to a rare public apology from Rupert Murdoch--whose NewsCorp owns HarperCollins--and the firing of Judith Regan, one of the most commercially successful publishers ever. It is conceivable a small, rogue publisher could pick up a Casey Anthony book (similar to when Beaufort Books took If I Did It after Harper dropped it), but if that's the case the financial windfall would barely be a fraction of what these analysts predict.
The notion of a Casey Anthony book is simply more water being squeezed from that stone, the media trying to drain out a last few columns and angles before the well dries up and we move on. Speculation is catnip, and because a few 'analysts' have declared Casey likely to reap the mine, people will feast upon it. But the analysts are wrong. From a supply and demand perspective, there may be a whole lot that Casey Anthony will be offering in the coming months, but I highly doubt there will be any demand for a book.
Jason Pinter is the bestselling author of five thriller novels (the most recent of which are The Fury and The Darkness), as well as the ebook exclusive thriller FAKING LIFE, which have nearly 1.5 million copies in print in over a dozen languages. His first novel for young readers, Zeke Bartholomew: Superspy!, will be released in November 2011. Visit him at www.jasonpinter.com or follow him on Twitter.