Judson Merrill Hits the Festival Circuit

My literary career is young but it’s never too early to begin collecting and selling online the unused jewelry of posterity. For the benefit of scholars and fans alike, I will use this space on The Outlet, on a semi-regular basis, to release a selection of my correspondence and other papers. Enjoy. (Universities interested in acquiring the complete Judson Merrill archive should contact me through my web site.)

Dear Organizers of the Jerusalem International Book Fair,

I would like to reserve a prime booth at your upcoming event. I am just now completing an amazing or near-amazing novel, The Purple Autograph. By the time of your fair this winter I will be seeking representation and I am certain the many publishers and agents who attend your fair will appreciate having me and my wares front and center.

Also, what kind of A/V facilities do you have available? I’m considering having a recording of my query letter playing on a loop but I don’t want to bother if you don’t have the speakers to be heard over the crowd noise.

Judson Merrill
JIBF replybot,

Thanks for your prompt reply. I received your application form for a fair booth. However, I don’t see a box to check for writers. Should I put myself down as an Electronic Publishing Company? That seems closest. Also, regarding the rental fee for the booth, I won’t be able to pay by the date stipulated. Instead, I am enclosing an IOU to be fulfilled with the book advance I will secure at your event.

J. Merrill


Thanks once again for getting back to me. I understand that you’re not in the speculation business, but this is hardly a gamble. I am enclosing a copy of my query letter to make plain that The Purple Autograph is a sure thing. Could anyone pass up this tale of fanaticism set amid the sexually charged world of philography?

However, your most recent communiqué did get me thinking. I’m sure I’ve got a lot to learn about attending events like yours and I could greatly benefit from your advice. So: I’ll be shaking a lot of hands, posing for pictures, that sort of thing. However, I’ve recently received a cryptic series of comments about having “medically moist hands.” I’m concerned about how the desert climate might exacerbate this condition. Any chance we could review the climate control settings/procedures of the center where the fair will take place?

Many thanks,


I know, I know. Now this is getting silly. The fair’s only a few days away and we’re still haggling over the details. I’m getting on a plane now so we can sit down later this evening and get this all resolved.

Also, I fully understand that a booth that close to the main hall’s entrance may not be available. In fact, I should probably be placed near the other big authors. In a real pinch I could probably share a booth with Carl Hiaasen or Philip Roth or something. (Part of The Purple Autograph is set in Newark! Phil’s going to love it.)



Oops. I think I might have screwed up. I just emailed my listserv telling them about my appearance at the fair. I have no idea how they got this idea, but several fans have written back under the impression that I’ll be giving a keynote or keynote-like address on Thursday night. Weird, I know, but since I am expecting quite a few of my people to show (they’ve already started a Facebook group!) maybe the best way to placate them is to slot me into an available speaking gig?

Also, I’m outside your office. Come find me!

See you soon,

Dear Berlin International Literary Festival,

I would like to reserve a prime booth at your upcoming event. I have enclosed your standard application and an addendum making the case for my prominent inclusion in your festival. In short, the BILF and I will both benefit from the publicity generated by my recent turn at the Jerusalem fair. (In case you missed it, I made several public [and, in one memorable case, televised] appearances in and around the conference center and local police station.) While I will be in Berlin to pitch my new novel, I am willing to schedule up to three promotional or press events to advance the Festival. We all want this thing to be a success.

Also, how do you find the German summers impact the dampness/temperature of your palms?

Looking forward to working with you,
Judson Merrill

* * *

The full Judson Merrill archives can be found here.

–Judson Merrill lives and writes in Brooklyn. Some of his work, including his e-novella The Pool, can be found at judsonmerrill.com.

Image courtesy of http://www.blogcdn.com/

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