WIMPY KID Author Jeff Kinney to Open Bookstore in Massachusetts
Meet the latest bookstore owner: "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" author Jeff Kinney.
The beloved children's writer surprised and delighted a breakfast gathering Friday at BookExpo America, publishing's annual national convention, by announcing that he and his wife are converting the site of an abandoned general store in Plainville, Massachusetts, where Kinney and his wife live.
Kinney, whose books have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, joked that he was opening a store to get rich.
Kinney isn't the only author to go into the bookselling business. Ann Patchett runs Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, and Larry McMurtry is the longtime owner of Booked Up in Archer, Texas.
BookExpo America is being held in New York City.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney didn't grow up wanting to be a children's author. His dream was to become a newspaper cartoonist, but he wasn't able to get his comic strips syndicated.
In 1998 Jeff came up with the idea for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a story about a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley. Jeff worked on his book for almost eight years before showing it to a publisher in New York.
Jeff Kinney was born in 1971 in Maryland and attended the University of Maryland in the early 1990s. It was there that Jeff ran a comic strip called "Igdoof" in the campus newspaper, and he knew he wanted to be a cartoonist.
However, Jeff was not successful in getting his comic strip syndicated after college, and in 1998 he started writing down ideas for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which he hoped to turn into a book. Jeff worked on the book for six years before publishing it online on Funbrain.com in daily installments. To date, the online version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has more than 80 million visits, and is typically read by more than 70,000 kids a day.
In 2006, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc. to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid was released in April 2007 and quickly became a New York Times bestseller, eventually reaching the #1 spot. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was released in January 2008 and also became a #1 bestseller.
In 2007, Jeff also created Poptropica.com, where he continues to work full-time as the creative and editorial director. Jeff lives in southern Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.