A "Shepherd Avenue" That Lost Its Way

Ideally, you want your new book displayed in a bookstore's window.

Or at least on a display table just inside the door.

But what you don't want is what happened to me when "Shepherd Avenue" was first published.

I'd been assured that copies had been delivered to this particular bookstore in New York City, and went to check on the display.

They weren't in the window, and they weren't on the indoor display table. Well, that would have been a lot for a first-time novelist to expect, so I wasn't upset.

But when I couldn't find them anywhere in the fiction department, I started to panic.

Nobody seemed to know where my books had gone, until a row-by-row search of the shop solved the mystery.

There they were, in the cookbook section. The cookbook section?

Believe it or not, there was an explanation.

The sheepish manager explained: "I think one of our clerks thought it was a recipe book for Shepherd's Pie."


Together we carried my books to the fiction section, where they took up residency beside Truman Capote's books. Pretty good company.

The moral of the story?

Make sure they don't mistake your novel for a cookbook, or you will get burned.