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Publisher's Weekly

Left on the Cutting Room Floor

by Staff -- 2/10/2003
Features > Children's Books
Children's editors describe some book titles that never made it into print

. . .

We set about launching Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events in the fall of 1999 with two titles, acquired as Book the First, The Miserable Marriage and Book the Second, The Reptile Room. It took only a very informal focus group to reveal the truth: 10-year-old boys are not combing bookstore shelves looking for books that promise to be about marriage. Accordingly, we cast about for a new title, and soon decided upon The Bad Beginning. So pleased were we with this change that we promptly set about altering the title of Book the Second, which we very nearly sent into the world titled The Good Guardian. We regained our judgment in time and The Reptile Room stuck. The moral of this story, according to Mr. Snicket, is "nobody knows anything at any given time."
Susan Rich,
HarperCollins Children's Books