Abrams Books for Young Readers’ Amulet imprint has unveiled details about Jeff Kinney’s upcoming tour in support of The Ugly Truth, the fifth book in his bestselling Wimpy Kid series, which goes on sale November 9, with a five million–copy first printing. The tour is bookended by a prepub charity event in Dallas, with Kinney appearing as one of five featured authors at the Barbara Bush Celebration of Reading on November 8, and at another charity event, United Through Reading’s Storybook Ball in San Diego on November 14.
The launch for The Ugly Truth will take place at BookPeople in Austin on the book’s on-sale date; the store will have a kid-sized version of the Cheese Touch board game, a dunk tank, and other activities on hand for the event. From Austin, Kinney will travel in an Ugly Truth-branded bus to Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, and Birmingham for events during the book’s first week on sale. The partnering bookstores in each city will be giving away up to 2,000 free tickets for fans to see Kinney speak at local event spaces.
This isn’t Kinney’s first bus tour—he traveled along the West Coast by bus in support of the fourth book, Dog Days. Kinney, who spoke with PW from the set of the second Wimpy Kid movie in Vancouver, said that he’s looking forward to hitting the road again. “This time we’re going to go through the South, which I’m really excited about,” Kinney said. “With the movie and with the attention the books get, you sometimes end up in three media markets pretty consistently. I wanted to go out and meet the fans I wouldn’t ordinarily get to meet.”
Kinney also said that years of touring have been a learning experience, and that he and Abrams have worked to improve the tours to make them as fun as possible for kids. He recalled that at the last event of his Dog Days tour, “The book signing took six hours. I felt that it wasn’t fair to do that to the fans, so this time around we’re doing shows. We’ve rented out theaters so the kids in the audience can be entertained for an hour before they wait in line to get their book signed.”
While The Ugly Truth arrives November 9, that date isn’t the only big one for Kinney in November; as previously reported, Greg Heffley will be making his debut as a parade balloon at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, where Kinney and his family will be among the millions in attendance. (Kinney will make an appearance at the Macy's in New York City's Herald Square on Sunday, November 21.)
As for what the future holds, Kinney said that, even as filming is wrapping up on Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, “We’re right now starting to look toward making Diary of a Wimpy Kid Three. People feel really good about this universe we’re creating on-screen.”
And what about more books? Kinney, who has a fulltime job in addition to his work on the films, says, “I would like to continue but right now I’m trying to figure out how to pull it off.”