Silver Spring, Md. — Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” is blaring on everyone's car radio. It’s 40-some degrees, but water balloons are being tossed, and a lifeguard is blowing her whistle at guests. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” author Jeff Kinney is on standby with a 7-foot pool net.
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The coronavirus pandemic has prompted an unusual ask of the book industry: how do you go on tour to promote your work when meeting groups isn’t safe? Some big-name authors, like Barack Obama, whose presidential memoir, “A Promised Land,” came out a month ago, stuck just to giving interviews. Others have done Zoom events on their own, partnering with other authors or with local bookstores.
But Kinney, author of the bestselling kids book series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” engineered a socially distant but fun and interactive tour like no other for his young readers: a pool party-themed drive-through meet and greet that lifts his stories off the pages.
“It's important to have that feeling of connection,” Kinney tells USA TODAY. “Like most writers, I write in a vacuum. I write in isolation … so it feels really strange to write something and put it out into the world and then to not meet the people who are reading it.”
Families attend a drive-through pool party event to promote Jeff Kinney”s latest kids book, “Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Deep End” on Oct. 26. in Silver Spring, Maryland.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 book tours: 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' author Jeff Kinney is king
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