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Jeff Kinney: a failure for not getting into newspapers

The Richmond Times-Dispatch profiled Jeff Kinney about the success of his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I think this admission is a life lesson for all of us.

“I always think of myself as a cartoonist who couldn’t crack into newspapers,” he said recently by phone.

Kinney created the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” main character, a middle school student named Greg Heffley, after accepting that he would never land his dream job of producing a daily comic strip.

Yet “not good enough” for an adult comic strip could translate into “great” from a kid’s perspective, he eventually decided.

And I can’t help but also remember the news story about Jeff, who despite all his success with the series, chooses to keep his day job with Poptropica.com simply because he enjoys it.

Community Comments

#1 Lucas Turnbloom
November/14/2011
@ 11:46 am

His books are brilliant.

#2 Daniel Boris
November/14/2011
@ 12:46 pm

Right on, Jeff. Right on.

#3 Rich Diesslin
November/14/2011
@ 1:07 pm

Cracking the book market with the kind of sales he achieves is probably as daunting a task as daily comic syndication … and the hours are probably better ! If you ever get a chance to met Jeff and/or hear him speak it would be well worth your while. Great guy and very humble for all the success he’s achieved.

#4 Stephen Beals
November/14/2011
@ 1:18 pm

“Great” doesn’t quite describe it with my kids. “Rock Star” is more like it. His books are everywhere in my house.

#5 Stacy Curtis
November/14/2011
@ 1:58 pm

Who knows “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” might have totally bombed as a newspaper comic strip?
Many of us grew up with the goal of being a comic strip cartoonist, but there are so many venues available for comics that might work better than newspapers and be much more profitable.
We should all be glad that Jeff didn’t give up and abandon his cartooning dream.
Not only did he succeed in children’s books, but he opened a lot of doors for others to follow with their comics.

#6 Terry LaBan
November/15/2011
@ 9:56 am

He joins the list of such other spectacular failures as Charles Shultz, J.K. Rowling and Steve Jobs.

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