Unfortunately, it wasn't with good news. He said that from the title of my book and the description, he was expecting more of a humor book instead of a memoir, and he didn't have enough material dealing directly with the subject of Asperger's and sexuality to understand what I am trying to do with the book. He also said that he wasn't sure if he could find an editor who could market it correctly, and so he's stepping aside to let another agent have a try with it. Naturally, I was depressed after I read his message. I thought, "Oh my God, I'm marketing my book completely wrong. How incompetent and idiotic am I? Nobody's ever going to want to take me on." I mean, the book is supposed to have humor in it--it deals with serious issues in a humorous light, so as not to make everything all doom-and-gloom. My writing has been described as Ernest Hemingway crossed with Erma Bombeck--that's where the serious-stuff-made-seriously-funny thing comes into play. But, it seems that Mr. Schelling didn't quite pick up on that, which is okay, and I'm still very grateful that he did get back to me and offered some great advice and suggestions. So I'll be writing back to him soon with a few words of thanks.
What pulled me out of the funk induced by his e-mail, however, was another e-mail that I received just half an hour later, this one from Liza Dawson, the literary agent with whom I met in the city on July 1st. First of all, I could not believe that both of them got back to me on the same night, within forty minutes of each other, no less. I swear, it's as if these people have some kind of mind-melding, telepathy thing going on or something. Anyway, Liza said that she liked my first chapter, but wasn't 100% sure that the structure I'd laid out for the book was right for it. She asked if I had some additional material that I could send to her, and said that she looked forward to hearing from me soon. So, I consider that a pretty good sign, if I may say so myself. She didn't say, "Oh my God, I loved it, I want to take you on right now!" but she didn't flat-out reject me, either. That's the only frustrating part, is that I'm not sure if she definitely does want to take me on, or isn't planning on having a final decision until she has more of my material in hand. It's nerve-wracking, to say the least. But, luckily, my summer class has ended, and Liza's going to be away until tomorrow, so I'm working on something that I hope to get to her by the time she returns. In the meantime, I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed that this might mean that we've moved on to the next step of the process.
In other news, I recently submitted an article to the newsletter for ASCEND, the Asperger Syndrome Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. I met Deirdre Wright, the founder of ASCEND, at COSAC's annual conference in May in
I also received a phone call from Charlene Schermer, who was referred to me by the
In addition, I've just completed a summer course in Developmental Disabilities, which adds three more credits to my Masters degree that I am working to obtain at
Finally, I received two other public speaking offers. One came from a woman in my summer class, who told me that she spoke to her supervisor about me and showed her my business card, and her supervisor is now interested in having me come to speak at their school as part of a professional development workshop. The other offer came from a woman that I know from high school, who works in a program affiliated with Catholic Health Services, and she, too, asked if I would be interested in speaking to some of the staff at one or two of their locations on Long Island as part of a professional development workshop.
So many things are in the works right now, and I must say that I almost feel a bit overwhelmed. I'm beyond excited that things are picking up, though, and as I mentioned in my previous entry, please don't hesitate to contact me about a potential public speaking engagement or workshop. My services are slowly starting to become more in-demand, so book me for your event while I still have some free space on my calendar! :)