Jeff Kinney is the author of the children's book series "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." The series is the diary a fictional boy named Greg Heffley. Greg has all the problems of a non-fictional boy. His parents, little brother and best friend often embarrass him. His older brother often bullies him and being popular in middle school is a constant struggle. This series is the most successful project of Kinney's writing career thus far.
Wanted to Create a Comic Strip
Jeff Kinney's first foray into published writing and drawing was a cartoon strip titled "Igdoof," which he wrote while attending the University of Maryland. Kinney wanted to make "Igdoof" a success outside of his school newspaper after graduation, but that did not work out for him. Instead, he began writing "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" in 1998.
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" Began Online
Six years after Kinney began work on "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," he published it piecemeal online. Unlike the doomed "Igdoof," the series, complete with cartoon drawings, was a success. About two years after it went online, Kinney got a book deal for the series with Harry N. Abrams.
Thousands Read His Work
According the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" website, more than 70,000 viewers read the online version of the diary every day. That is more than 80 million viewers over the lifetime of the series. That does not include the print versions, four of which were number one best sellers. Jeff Kinney has come a long way since "Igdoof."
Caring About Young Readers
Each of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books is 224 pages long in their original formats. Kinney numbers only 217 of the pages, but there are always 224. He told "School Library Journal" that he does this, "...so they'd look good on a kid's shelf."
Based on His Journal
Kinney, who was an adult when he came up with "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," got the idea for a boy's diary from his own journal. The "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books have handwritten font and cartoons doodled throughout them. Kinney told Jeff Rivera of the Huffington Post that his journal at the time looked much the same. Looking at it, he decided it would make an interesting book format.