Sioux Falls, SD
For many men, finding out you're going to be a father for the first time can be nerve-racking; for some, it's downright scary.
For one Sioux Falls man, it’s an adventure he didn't see coming and it turned him into an author.
It all started with; well we know how it started. But a video cry for help started something big.
"I knew how I got myself into the father mess, that was participatory, but I didn't know how I was going to transition from dude to dad, from this ordinary guy to an extraordinary father like the one I had," Author of Dude to Dad, Hugh Weber, said.
After sending it to a few friends, Hugh realized he wasn't alone.
"Do I need to learn how to fight a bear or how many Cosby sweaters should I buy, and I put together a brief video that I sent to 5 friends. And within that first 48 hours it was viewed thousands of times because of the power of Facebook and the social web. And so I realized, there was more than just one insecure dad, there were a lot of young men becoming dads for the first time that had a lot to learn," Hugh said.
He started a blog and Twitter handle called Dude to Dad. Its popularity grew faster than his pregnant wife.
"By the time my daughter was born we had thousands of followers on Twitter, we now have over 85,000, which is hard to believe. I'm a C+ father and we have 85,000 followers on Twitter which is really where the conversation about writing a book came from," Hugh said.
Hugh says a publishing company called Familius was working on another book and when looking for names for that book ran into Dude to Dad.
"I'll admit, initially I wasn't terribly interested, we were terribly busy, business was busy, we had a child and one on the way. Amy was the voice of reason and said you learned something interesting, you had all the support, literally from all over the world, while Emerson was on the way, you know, do this," Hugh said.
Hugh says the entire thing wouldn't have been possible, without his wife.
But she wasn't always a willing participant. Some of his favorite YouTube clips show Amy running away from the camera.
"It is really cool, I did a lot of baby book searching and purchased a lot of books, we have a whole pile of them, and I like that it was easy to read and it was real. They don't tell you that stuff, some of the stuff that Hugh shared in the book," Amy Weber said.
And while the blog, Facebook account, Twitter, and now book might reveal more than she bargained for, Amy says it has been a wonderful experience and a great way to document those intense hours of labor.
"We were there 19 ½ hours and he's clicking away on the computer and by that time some of the excitement had worn off, when's this baby coming? So he, it was a way to keep him entertained and it was a way to, in a way it recorded the events that I would have never remembered. Looking back and reading through some of his tweets, I said some pretty hilarious things," Amy said.
The book has gained world wide attention. Something Hugh didn't see coming.
"That day that things went live I was completely convinced that we would sell like three copies all of which would go to my mom. I was convinced the best-case scenario we would barely scratch the surface, and that day we hit number one on Amazon," Hugh said.
The numbers don't lie. The day the book was released on Amazon it was number two in fatherhood, number one in motherhood and number four in marriage. It was also the number one new release in fatherhood, motherhood and two other categories. Out of over 8-million books on Amazon, it came in at 215.
"It was a little shocking but I knew he worked really hard on it and he kind of made a big effort and fortunately a lot of people knew it was coming out and it would be released and we had a lot of support from friends and family and I guess everybody liked it so it’s not too shocking that people are buying it," Amy said.
While there are endless lessons to learn about parenthood, Hugh says the one he wants to come to the top is that it's real life, and it's hard.
"It's ok to occasionally fail but you gotta get back up and you've got a tremendous opportunity to raise a kid that can be the best possible version of themselves and that should be the only objective in this. Not impressing your friends, not meeting some milestone that some book tells you is important, but just really helping them become the best possible person they can be," Hugh said.
Most of the content for the book came from the birth of their daughter Emerson. She is now four and their second child, Finn, is 12 weeks old.
Hugh says a second book is on the way.
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