"Dork Diaries" family on collaborating and new "Max Crumbly" book

Family behind "Dork Diaries" books

Being a "dork" may not be a title most people embrace, but the Russell family has turned that into a hugely profitable business.

Rachel Renée Russell is the author of the hit graphic novels, "Dork Diaries," which follow the life of an awkward teenage girl named Nikki Maxwell as she muddles her way through middle school.

"The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Middle School Mayhem"  Simon & Schuster

More than 36 million copies are in print in 37 different languages.

Russell's daughters, Erin and Nikki, helped inspire the novels and also contribute by co-writing and illustrating the books.

Now, the team is out with a new book for their "Max Crumbly" series called "The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Middle School Mayhem." It's about a gawky teenage boy with superhero ambitions.

The three joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss the second book in the "Max Crumbly" series and what it's like to collaborate as a family. 

"With Max Crumbly and with Nikki Maxwell, they're both really dorky outsiders and so I do draw on my childhood for that," said Erin, who writes along with her mom.  

On why being dorky is good, Erin said, "Dorks are underestimated and misunderstood because they think uniquely and they do their own thing, but really, it's good to be that way. It's good to be independent and to embrace your unique."

Family’s real-life battles inspire tween tales, “Dork Diaries”

Her sister Nikki, who does illustrations, talked about their collaborative process. "I know I can kind of be a bit of an artist when I have a particular vision in mind, but it's not just about me, it's about fulfilling the vision we all have together," Nikki said.

Max Crumbly's motto is "Be the hero you've always admired."

"He's a dorky guy, kind of quiet and he gets put in a position where he gets to become a hero. He doesn't think he can do it but as he goes through the story he realizes he has that in him," Rachel said. 

"It works pretty well, our comedy or sense of humor, they blend pretty well," Erin said of writing with her mom. She admitted that when they are coming up on a deadline, "we might get a little crabby but otherwise we work well."

The book is published by Aladdin books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, which is a division of CBS.