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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jeff Ashton Book Deal ("crashing" a book)

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Casey Anthony prosecutor Jeff Ashton has confirmed he has a book in the works and it is due on shelves in November of this year. In the world of professional publishing, that is putting out a book virtually instantaneously. The Casey Anthony trial came to its conclusion over the 4th of July weekend...the book to appear in stores just 5 months later? I believe the technical term the publishing pros use to describe that is "crashing" a book. See, most books do not appear on shelves until at least a year, sometimes two, after the deal is made. And that is when the book is already written, such as a novel. 

For Mr. Ashton to write the book from scratch; an editor to read it and outline revisions; copy editors look up obscure trade names and other meticulous details; typesetters to lay out the font and page numbers and the art department to design a cover all in five months is going to cause a lot people to work non-stop for those months. I'm sure migraines will be had, teeth will be ground, and hair will fall out and what's left will turn white on many heads.

That is, 5 short months from the verdict itself! You have to shave off some time for business and administration, such as Mr. Ashton a) deciding to do it b) picking an agent (I'm sure he had his pick of the litter) c) putting together the deal with the publisher. So let's take at least 2 weeks off for all of that and now we have Mr. Ashton and his team getting the book together in no more than 4 months. Wow. Tip o' the hat to you, my friend.
(screen shot below from Barnes and Noble. No kidding the "image is not available"--there's an army of artists scrambling to come up with a cover design and Irene ain't helpin'!)

Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony

by Jeff Ashton

People often ask me if the murderers make money off a true crime book. That is never, ever true unless the suspect himself writes the book. In this case, it is the prosecutor who is writing it. He will control the funds. Either they go to him or possibly to a charity he designates as some one-shot authors in this type of case do.  So, please, feel free to buy Ashton's book.

I've been asked about "rights" to Casey's life story or some such. No. He does not need her permission nor need to pay her any kind of royalty or fee. That only happens when the story is told from Casey's point of view AND with her participation. It usually happens with movies or TV deals. It doesn't happen that much. You can clearly tell the difference by the author's name on the cover: in this case, clearly "Ashton," not "Anthony."

jeffashtonMost "authorized" movies/books will be screaming at high decibels the fact that the perpetrator is in bed with the producers/publishers. Remember the OJ book as it was originally announced?  Have you seen that happen again? No. I haven't either.

Let me repeat: Ashton's book will NOT BENEFIT CASEY.

In my opinion, Ashton worked very hard and did an excellent job in this trial and I will be fascinated to see what he thinks went so wrong. I'm anxious to hear him talk about the "CSI Effect."   I believe it had a lot to do with the CA verdict, does he? I'm sure he has a lot of thoughts and observations that may even have an impact on how I view the trials I sit in on. At the same time the Casey Anthony case was going on, the sweat lodge trial (James Ray) was proceeding in a courtroom in which I sat, taking notes and listening intently. Yet the sweat lodge verdict, in an arguably more complex and less sure case, came in "guilty." What was the difference? I will love to hear Ashton's opinions.

See you at the bookstore!

Camille Kimball's books:


  1. Yes, I am sure he wants to get the CSI effect out there in the form of a book as fast as he can so that he won't be blamed for doing such a poor job prosecuting the case.

  2. I have to disagree. Ashton did not do a poor job. The jurors seemed to want more evidence than is available in most criminal trials. They probably got this idea from CSI. The jurors ignored the instruction that the law makes no distinction between circumstantial evidence and direct evidence. Ashton did a good job. In a few weeks I will attend a trial where there is no body. According to the CA jury standard, that would be impossible, right?