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.