A Big Day For Me and Bennett

 

booksbooksbooksYesterday was a rough day. Bennett had to have surgery, which means we had our hands full… with Sutton. (Parenting note: the healthy kid is always more trouble than the sick kid. Always.) I understand that, at 4 years old, it’s hard to see your twin getting so much attention, almost as hard as it is being a parent and having to hold back from screaming, “Your brother is about to get cut open! Let him have this moment!”

In a lapse of parenting judgment, I ended up promising her a toy if she could chill out. On the plus side, she chilled out. Mostly. Eh, I’ll buy her a crappy toy. I didn’t promise anything nice.

I’ve been saying for a while now that potty training is the hardest thing I’ve had to do as a parent. Well, after yesterday, I’m going to give the #2 slot to watching my little boy get knocked out by gas in an operating room, assuring him that everything would be fine and that Other Daddy and I would both be there when he woke up.

He handled it like a champ, drifting off to sleep calmly as he stared trustingly into our eyes, with very little idea of what was actually about to happen. It’s always the really hard moments as a parent that also remind me why I love having kids so much. Bennett couldn’t quite understand what was happening, but because his dads were with him, he felt safe.

The surgery went great. He was up and wolfing down ice pops in no time, and by the end of the day, we were out of the hospital, celebrating at McDonald’s, where Bennett ate more food than I’ve ever seen him eat in one sitting in his life.

When we got home, there were balloons and flowers at the door, and a giant cardboard box.

A box full of books.

“Do you guys know what this is?” I asked the kids.

“It’s your book!” Bennett cheered.

It was, in fact, a lot of my books.

It was just like you always dream it will be as a writer. You cut open a box and all you see are copies of your own book staring back at you. I’m not sure exactly how many copies were in there. However many I was contractually obligated to receive, I guess, but  I haven’t counted. It feels like a million. Like a bottomless box of books. And all I can think is, “What am I going to do with all these books?” Am I supposed to read them all? Pass them out to strangers? Are they just going to sit in my basement like this, a big box of books, always kept in pristine condition, their bindings never cracked?

Then, I had another thought: I should order more.

At the same time, I started getting emails from friends. Amazon had notified people who preordered that the books arrived early and would be shipped out in the next few days. Soon, lots of people will have my book.

The timing couldn’t have been better. After a long, draining day, we had something else to celebrate.

And of course, as the spotlight shifted to me, Sutton was ridiculously jealous once again.

Bwahahahaha!

* * * * *

Yes! Books are coming soon! Don’t forget to order yours! Or better yet, join in my Amazing Chart Twerk 2, which is still set for the official release day of May 8.

Mommy Man Early Review Roundup!

muppet-criticsI’ve never understood writers who say they don’t read their reviews. You mean there are people out there talking about you and you don’t want to know what they’re saying? What if it’s really glowing? What if it’s insightful and constructive? What if it’s about your mama?

I’m sure I will change my mind the second someone calls my book unfunny or boring or some word I have to look up. For now, though, we’re still a couple of weeks before the release date, and everything I’ve read so far has been the kind of stuff I’d be perfectly happy posting here on my website.

So I will!

Publisher’s Weekly may not be on your personal bookshelf, but among people who make their living in books, it’s hugely influential and highly revered. It’s like what Cat Fancy is to crazy cat ladies. If they purr about your book, it’s an honor. Well, here’s what Publishers Weekly said about my book, in a review that was just released today:

“Comedy writer Mahoney answers the question, ‘Just how do two gay men become dads’ in this uproarious look at the world of surrogacy… By the end of this touching book, the proud dads feel that they are the luckiest people alive.”

There’s a bit of synopsis in between those two sentences, but I didn’t yadda yadda anything negative. Reading that review was a huge relief. Uproarious and touching? That’s totally what I was going for! Publisher’s Weekly, you get me!

I also managed to get dust jacket blurbs from some incredible writers. These were all people I’ve been a huge fan of, who I approached in the hopes that they might vouch for my book to people who trust their opinion. They didn’t get paid for this, unless you consider an email from me saying, “I love you, you’re awesome” payment. Who are these wonderful people?

  • Jill Smokler a/k/a Scary Mommy
  • Karen Alpert a/k/a Baby Sideburns
  • Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay and host of Parental Discretion on NickMom
  • Tim Carvell, head writer of The Daily Show with John Stewart and executive producer of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Drew Greenberg, writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Arrow
  • Sascha Rothchild, author of How to Get Divorced by 30
  • Susan E. Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations With God
  • Victoria Strouse, screenwriter for Pixar
  • Robin Sindler, producer for NBC’s Today Show

 

therealthingYou can read all the nice things they said on my book page or on the dust jacket itself once the book comes out.

Some of the nicest reviews of my book have come from people you haven’t heard of, regular users on GoodReads who’ve had access to advance copies through their connection to the publishing world. These are people like book buyers and librarians, who love books and love to tell people about books they particularly love. Here are a few quotes:

 “This book was simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. There were moments I was laughing out loud, and then five sentences later bawling my eyes out. In this absolutely unforgettable book, Jerry Mahoney documents the trials and tribulations he and his partner Drew face when they decide to have children.”

 “This book was absolutely wonderful — it takes an incredibly skilled writer to make us roll on the floor with laughter through the many tense moments along the way to daddy-hood… As the Bio/Memoir Collection Development librarian for our library, not only will I will be purchasing this book for our collection, but I will be recommending it to as many people as I can.”

 “It is a charming, sweet, and funny story of two dads and their quest to have a family via a surrogate. Mahoney is a great writer, and he manages to find the humor in even the most difficult and dark times of this complicated journey to parenthood.

Parental Discretion with Stefanie Wilder-TaylorWow, do I sound like a egotistic jerk by putting all these reviews on my blog? Well, I’m only doing it so I can relish the moment when all the reviews are still good. That, and to convince you to join My Amazing Chart Twerk 2, of course.

“Mommy Man” the book will be available on May 8, online or at your favorite bookstore. (The e-book will follow shortly after that date.) I’m encouraging everyone who reads this blog to buy the book on release day in hopes of making the maximum impact. Mark your calendar now, then on May 8, buy buy buy!

Buy it because you like this blog, buy it because Baby Sideburns and Scary Mommy told you to, buy it because you like things that are uproarious and touching. Just buy it…

… and then write a review! I love reviews! I’m going to read them all!

You know, at least until the first bad one comes in.

* * * * *

I’m on Twitter! I’m on Facebook! Like me, like me!

Announcing… My Amazing Chart Twerk 2!

mommymancalendarHave you preordered my book yet? You know, the one that comes out in about three (gulp!) weeks? If so, then you’re awesome, I love you and there’s no need to keep reading this post. Go watch that video of the cute old ladies riding on an airplane for the first time instead. You’ve earned it.

If you haven’t ordered it yet, though, I have one word for you…

DON’T!

Yes, I’m a crazy lunatic whose first ever book, which he’s so excited about and so proud of, is coming out in three weeks, who’s asking his blog readers NOT to buy it. Why?

Because it’s time for my Amazing Chart Twerk 2!

If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you may remember my first Chart Twerk, where I asked everyone who was planning to preorder my book to do so at roughly the same time in order to make a big splash in the Amazon rankings. At the risk of sounding like a Trump-ish self-promoter, it was a huge success. The book got to #1 in its category, #260 overall and it briefly outranked “Eat Pray Love,” though I’ve still yet to interest Julia Roberts in the film rights. The most amazing part of it all was that this was seven months before the book even came out.

Imagine the potential impact when the book is actually available.

Want to take part? Hooray. Here’s what I’m asking you to do…

1. Mark your calendar to buy my book on its official release day, Thursday, May 8, 2014.

2. Live a happy, fulfilling life for the next three weeks.

3. On Thursday, May 8, 2014, BUY MY BOOK!

It’s that simple! Buy the book as close to 12PM EST as you can so we can make the maximum impact.

If you have any plans at all to buy my book, I really hope you’ll take part in this. Don’t just plan to pick up a copy whenever you get around to it or once everyone else has already read it. Help me make a big splash.

You may remember that last time, I asked you to preorder the book on Amazon. That’s because back then, Amazon was the only place that had it available for preorder. On May 8, my book will be available EVERYWHERE, so I’m asking you to buy it wherever you prefer to buy books.

But it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Soup, IndieBound, Powell’s, Books-A-Million, The Book Depository, that Belgian site a reader tipped me off to or your favorite local brick and mortar store. Buy 1 copy at each of those places if you want to. I don’t mind! Want the direct sales links? Click on this page and check out some of your options.

When the big day arrives, I’ll keep an eye on the major sites to see where the book ranks, and if you notice anything cool yourself, please let me know! If you happen to spot a copy of Mommy Man on the Best Seller table at you local bookstore, tweet me! If your Barnes & Noble hangs up a sign that reads, “Sorry! Sold out of ‘Mommy Man’! Please stop asking!”, Facebook it!

One more thing…

I have some personal appearances coming up over the next couple of months (details here), and those are also great places to buy my book. If you’re in New York, LA, DC or Rochester and you want to buy a copy in person, then feel free not to twerk, but instead mark your calendar for the appearance you can attend. I’d love to see you there!

The rest of you, get ready. It’s almost twerk time!

Win a Free Copy of My Book! No Fooling!

goodreadsI guess it’s fitting that I played an April Fool’s joke about my book, since there’s a chapter in the book dealing with a very notorious (among my friends and family, at least) April Fool’s prank I pulled back in 2004.

To anyone who fell for the Oprah thing I posted yesterday, I’m incredibly flattered that you think the most powerful woman in publishing would have my little old book anywhere on her radar, let alone in her very enthusiastic hands. I sincerely thought the idea (along with the shoddy photoshopping) was too preposterous to reel anyone in. I stand corrected. Furthermore… gotcha!

Of course, if Oprah were involved, I could just sit back and let the royalties wash over me in giant tsunamis of bling. Instead, I’ll be treading the more typical publicity routes… appearances and giveaways!

I’ve already set up appearances in Manhattan, LA and Rochester, with more to be announced soon. Check out my new appearances page for details. If you’ve been reading the blog and you live in one of these areas, I really hope you’ll show up. It’s a great opportunity to buy a copy or ten of my book — or, for those of you on the fence about shelling out the cash, you can listen to me read, be won over and then buy it. It’s win-win!

Now, for the free part… Goodreads is giving away 15 copies of Mommy Man: How I Went From Mild-Mannered Geek to Gay Superdad to nice readers like you. If you’re not on Goodreads, this is a great reason to join, along with the fact that Goodreads is just plain awesome (and yes, FREE!). It’s like Facebook for readers. You can even sign up through your Facebook account rather than fill out a bunch of new forms. Feel free to friend me and/or mark my book “to read” while you’re there.

Once you’re a member, go to this page to sign up for the giveaway. The contest runs through April 21, 2014.

Also, be sure to check out the early reviews of my book on Goodreads. (I know, it’s weird that some people have already read it, but people in publishing and distribution have access to advance copies, and some of them are nice enough to post reviews. I promise those are real, honest reviews from people I’ve never met. Especially the lady who suspects Drew might be a psychopath. Should I be concerned???)

And good luck!

The Big Book Update

mommymanpostcardsIt’s hard to believe my book will be released in just over two months. It was picked up by the publisher early last year, but due to the editing and promotion schedules, the actual books are still a few weeks away from being printed. (That picture above is a box of promotional postcards that came in the mail.)

It’s been a long wait, and I couldn’t be more excited for it to come out so everyone can finally read it. Anyone who enjoys this blog will appreciate the humor and will get to hear a lot more about me and how my family came to be.

As the release date approaches, I expect to be increasingly insufferable with my promotion efforts, both here on the blog and, hopefully, live at a bookstore near you as well. I’ll keep the blog updated with any appearances, and if you do get a chance to come see me, I’d love to meet you. Yes, you!

Next week, I’ll be traveling to San Francisco to speak at the Families Through Surrogacy conference. I’m very honored to have been invited, and I’ll be doing a talk that’s a bit of The 5 People You Meet as a Gay Dad, a bit of What to Expect When You’re Expecting (and Gay), a bunch of new stuff and mostly, lots of cute pictures of my kids, because I know how to shamelessly pander to a crowd.

The entire lineup is great, and it should be very fun and informative for anyone considering surrogacy. If you’re interested, you can register to attend here.

I’m also very excited to announce a reading/signing at one of my absolute favorite book stores in the universe, Book Soup in Los Angeles, on Monday, June 9. If you’re on GoodReads, you can RSVP for the event here.

Thanks again to everyone who twerked their preorder with me, and if you haven’t ordered yet, you can find information and links here. If you prefer to patronize a brick-and-mortar store (and if so, good on ya!), then now’s a great time to check in with your favorite one and make sure they’re ordering it and will have a fresh, shiny new copy waiting for you on release day.

Keep checking back for updates. Or better yet, subscribe, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, yadda yadda.

Good News For People Who Preordered My Book!

booksellersAnyone who preordered my book from Amazon is covered by their preorder price guarantee, which means that you’ll only pay the lowest price posted between now and when the book is released. As of the moment I’m publishing this post, the book has been discounted to $19.60, so no matter what you agreed to pay when you bought it, that’s all you’ll be charged when it ships… unless, of course, the price goes down again, in which case you’ll pay even less!

If you haven’t preordered, you can take advantage of the sale price here (for as long as it lasts).

More good news — the book is now up on Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Book Depository and Powell’s. More to come, so if it’s not showing up on your favorite bookseller yet, just enter it in their search bar 500 times a day until someone over there takes notice. (I’m guessing that’s how I got on Barnes & Noble.) And for those of you who asked, yes, there will be an eBook, but that may not be available for preorder until closer to the release date. I’ll be adding a separate page here for book ordering when I get a chance.

There’s also a page for it on GoodReads, where Viktor has already marked it as “Want to Read”. Thanks, Viktor!

Finally, I apologize for incredibly lopsided ratio of book pimping to original material that’s been going on here lately, but I’m hoping to have something new up next week.

Grateful Man: How I Went from Self-Promoting Author to #1 Best-Seller*

BestsellerNo1I almost started writing this post too soon.

I tried not to get my hopes up too much about my Amazon Preorder Chart Twerk, wherein I brazenly begged everyone who would listen to me to preorder my book, 7 months before it’s even released, so that I could make a big splash on the Amazon sales chart. I had no idea what kind of difference a stunt like this could make, but it felt good going into it ranked #403,253. The only way to go was up!

Or so I thought.

So many people, from close friends to readers of this blog whom I’ve never even met, shared my link and tried to get others to sign on. At noon sharp, I started tweeting, Facebooking, emailing and basically squeezing every bit of juice out of all the social networks I’ve built up over the last few years to hype the presale. Then I sat back to watch my book coast up the charts.

I couldn’t wait to write this blog post, the one where I told everyone how much all their help paid off. I only wondered what numbers I would be able to boast about. Hey, I made it to #1,486 in the rankings! Hooray, I cracked the top 900! Oh my God, I’m outselling Catcher in the Rye**!

At 12:01, I hit REFRESH. No change. At 12:01 and 5 seconds, I hit REFRESH again. And again. And again. Hmm… maybe these charts didn’t update as frequently as I thought.

Finally, at 12:49, I saw a new rank… 409,937.

Huh?!

I asked everyone I know to buy my book, and it was actually going down in the rankings? This can’t be right. REFRESH REFRESH REFRESH!

At 2:17pm, I saw another new rank…

420,449

Now I was panicked. My chart twerk had been going on for 2 full hours, and the book was still plummeting like a Saw sequel the week after Halloween. What if Amazon didn’t rank preorders the same way as books that have been released? What if this didn’t work the way I’d led people to believe it would? What if I’d cashed in all the good will I’d amassed my whole life FOR NOTHING?

REFRESH REFRESH REFRESH REFRESH REFRESH REFRESH REFRESH REFRESH…

By 5:00 I’d pretty much given up hope. I was composing an email to Drew asking him what I should do. Apologize to everyone and tell them to cancel their preorders? Change my name and leave the country?

Right before I was about to hit SEND, I refreshed one more time. That’s when I saw this:

Rankings1Just as I was staring at the numbers, my phone rang, and I knew right away it was the one person who was probably hitting REFRESH as much as I was.

“DID YOU SEE IT? HOLY SHIT!”

“I was just sending you an email,” I said, as I immediately deleted everything I’d just typed to him.

Just like that, my book shot up 420,083 places, to #366. As in 0 million, 0 hundred thousand, three hundred sixty-six.

Holy shit, indeed.

Even better, it was #15 in Parenting… and #1 in Gay & Lesbian Memoirs and Biographies!

I didn’t stop refreshing. At 6:43, the book was up even more… #260! Still #1 in LGBT memoirs and now #9 in Parenting. I was ahead of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child!

I giddily looked up some other books. Eat Pray Love? #3,070. Pfft! Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? #1,068. Ha ha! Sure it was just for one brief moment in time on one retailer, but I was outselling J.K. Rowling!

The book popped up in Hot New Releases for Gay & Lesbian Biographies. It ranked #2 on Amazon’s Movers & Shakers chart (based on a sales surge of 98,150%). Best of all, if you searched for my book, it popped up with a sticker that said “#1 Best-Seller” because of its placement in its category chart.

Admittedly, part of me felt guilty. I was gaming the system, after all. There was no way my ranking would hold, and I’d displaced authors who’d earned their sales the hard way. Still, I couldn’t feel too bad because I was too busy feeling something else instead…

An overwhelming rush of love and gratitude.

I have the best friends, family, followers and blog readers in the world. I am silly with affection for you guys right now. The rank may have been inflated, but there’s no way I could overstate how loved I feel at this moment. I was moved to tears when I saw what you did for my book, and it’s ultimately not about selling a book as much as it is feeling like I’ve done something right with my life. I’ve surrounded myself with amazing people.

There are too many people to thank individually here, but two bloggers really went above and beyond in helping me promote this, so the least I can do is point you toward their awesome blogs. John Kinnear and Miceala Shocklee, you guys rock.

With seven months until the book comes out, I’m not sure what comes next. I’ll probably talk to my publisher about how we can garner some more attention out of this, and I’m sure they’ll have plenty of marketing schemes to implement as my book comes closer to being released. But even if my book never reaches these kinds of numbers again, this already seems like a win.

My book is about how I became a dad, so it recounts some of the happiest moments of my life. Today, you gave me another one, which goes in a new chapter all its own.

… a figurative chapter. Don’t worry, I’m not setting you up to buy another book already.

—–

* Gay & Lesbian Biography & Memoir category

** That never happened. But I slaughtered Franny & Zooey.

One More Day to the Chart Twerk for My Book! Thanks for Spreading the Word!

For no good reason, a picture of my children getting along.

For no good reason, a picture of my children getting along.

Are these book preorder updates getting obnoxious?  Here’s the deal: You indulge me with these self-promotional shenanigans for a couple of days, then we go back to normal here for a while, at least until a few weeks before the book comes out next May, when all bets are off. OK? Thanks…

I just want to thank all of you who have posted about my Amazon Preorder Chart Twerk on your Facebooks, Twitters and what have you. (You have Keek? Great, thanks for Keeking me, whatever that is.)

The awesome Miceala Shocklee of the Quill even created a Facebook event to promote my thing. And I’m not even paying her!  Feel free to jump into her party here. I also created a Facebook event through my Mommy Man page, but Facebook only showed it to 90 people. Rumor has it this is how they get people to pay to promote their posts. The few times I’ve seen bloggers do that, their post shows up like a hundred times in everyone’s feed, and we all just get annoyed. So I’m not going to do that to you, not this time at least.

So if you’re on board with preordering my book tomorrow at 12pm EDT and helping me make a big dent in the Amazon sales charts, set your alerts. Join Miceala’s thing. Sign up for an email reminder by requesting one in the comments below. Follow me on Twitter. Subscribe to this blog. If you do any of those things, you’ll get a reminder when it’s time to buy.

Amazon seems to be the only retailer that has the presale up as of now, which is why I’m asking everyone to do it there. It should be available just about everywhere eventually, and I’ll provide that info on my site when I have it.

It’d be nice if Amazon discounted the price to coincide with this, but remember, they have a preorder price guarantee, which means if you order tomorrow, you’ll only pay the lowest price they offer it at between now and the release date. So you can’t lose, and that’s a very good reason for ordering early.

Thanks again!

3 Days And Counting… Amazon Chart Twerk update!


amazonrank

Great news! My book has cracked the top 674,000 on Amazon! I actually noticed it go as high as the top 176,000 shortly after I announced the presale, but clearly most of you have been holding out for the official chart twerk, which takes place this Friday, October 4, at 12pm EDT (or as close to that as you can manage to be near a device running Amazon.com). I’m hoping then that I’ll see a much higher ranking, which of course, will give my publisher a big boost of confidence and hopefully convince more booksellers to stock it.

I’ve been so touched by all of you who’ve said you’re going to participate. I’m happy you want to read the book and grateful that you’re willing to help me out with my crazy little plan. (Admittedly, the one thing that’s likely to get a bigger boost than my book’s ranking is my own ego.)

For the rest of you, I’ve realized that maybe you need some more convincing. Maybe just some more information about this book I’m asking you to shell out your preorder money for. So, if you’re curious what’s contained in these 264 pages, here goes:

This memoir began as kind of an expanded version of a Modern Love column I wrote for the New York Times. You can read that original column here. That piece mostly centered on the amazing gift my partner and I received from my sister-in-law Susie, who selflessly donated her eggs to help us have children. The hardest thing about writing that column was fitting the whole thing into such a limited space. There was so much more to our story. So many more amazing people who deserved to be included, so many more unbelievable anecdotes I was dying to share. Writing the short version convinced me that I wanted to write about all of it. For my own sake, for my kids’ sake and, hopefully, for a bunch of people who might be moved by or just get a kick out of our story.

What I didn’t want to write was some deep, ponderous, self-important memoir like so many of the others out there. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’re familiar with my writing voice – snarky, jokey and then, when you least expect, ridiculously sentimental, because that’s just the kind of guy I am. That’s exactly what you’ll get from the book, too.

If I do say so myself, it’s also just a great story. Here’s the synopsis I put together for the publisher, which you can also find on the book’s Amazon page.

As a teenager growing up in the 1980s, all Jerry Mahoney wanted was a nice, normal sham marriage. 2.5 kids and a frustrated, dissatisfied wife living in denial of her husband’s sexuality. Hey, why not? It seemed much more attainable and fulfilling than the alternative—coming out of the closet and making peace with the fact that he’d never have a family at all.

Twenty years later, Jerry is living with his long-term boyfriend, Drew, and they’re ready to take the plunge into parenthood. But how? Adoption? Foster parenting? Kidnapping? What they want most of all is a great story to tell their future kid about where he or she came from.

Their search leads them to gestational surrogacy, a road less traveled where they’ll be borrowing a stranger’s ladyparts for nine months. Thus begins Jerry and Drew’s hilarious and unexpected journey to daddyhood. They meet a surrogate who’s perfect in every way… until she rejects them. They squabble over potential egg donors, discovering that they have very different notions of what makes the ideal woman. Then, Drew’s sister Susie makes a stunning offer that turns their entire journey on its head. If they’re interested, she’ll donate her eggs.

For the first time, Jerry and Drew imagine what it would be like to have a baby who’s a little bit of both of them. From then on, they’re in uncharted waters. They’re forced to face down homophobic baby store clerks, a hospital that doesn’t know what to do with them, even members of their own family who think what they’re doing is a little nutty. Along the way, Susie receives some devastating news that threatens to crush all their dreams of parenthood. One thing’s for sure. If this all works out, they’re going to have an incredible birth story to tell their kid.

With honesty, emotion, and laugh-out-loud humor, Jerry Mahoney ponders what it means to become a Mommy Man . . . and discovers that the answer is as varied and beautiful as the concept of family itself.

If you have any questions, post them here. I’d be happy to answer them. And if you need a reminder to place your order with the rest of us, just let me know and I’ll add you to my email list.

I have no idea how high a ranking this book can get, but I’m dying to find out. Maybe some day you can say you helped me crack the top 8,000!

[Remember: the Amazing Amazon Preorder Sales Twerk is this Friday, October 4, at 12pm EDT. You can place your orders here.]