Internet gurus (and Mochi alums) Teresa and Serena Wu first began documenting the funny things their mothers said in October 2008, when they created humor blog My Mom is a Fob. The site was such an immediate hit that they ended up getting several book offers. We got together with the two good friends, Teresa (currently working for Google in New York) and Serena (a design consultant based in San Francisco) to chat about their upcoming book, fobby moms and becoming an author. Look out for their book, “My Mom Is A Fob,” with an introduction by comedian Margaret Cho, in stores on January 4.
MOCHI: How did the two of you meet?
TW: I’ve known Serena since known preschool, apparently. But I don’t remember being friends…I only know this because we have pictures together!
SW: We started chatting again in high school, I believe?
TW: Yes, mainly because of journalism class. I was editor-in-chief and she was the special features editor of our school newspaper.
MOCHI: How did the idea of the blog come along?
TW: Late one random night, we talked about how funny it would be to start a blog about the funny things our moms say. So we just went on Tumblr and started posting at that moment…
SW: Within a week there were over 60,000 page views! It was surreal but awesome.
MOCHI: Since Teresa is now based in New York, you guys are on opposite coasts. How is the work divided?
TW: Updating the blog is not extremely time consuming—we do it about once a week. Serena is in charge of My Dad is a Fob [the spin-off site] and I oversee My Mom is a Fob.
SW: With the launch of the book, we’ve been receiving many emails with questions regarding publicity events and all that is going on as a result of the launch. If anything, it’s harder to keep up with responding than it is maintaining the blog.
MOCHI: How does it feel like to be approached by a publisher and have a published book at such a young age?
SW: It was exciting, but because we were so new to it, it felt like we were actually behind the wave. Most bloggers who had book offers had their books published way before us. We weren’t experienced with the process, so it took us longer than most authors.
MOCHI: Can you explain and describe the process of going from blog to book deal to publishing?
SW: Four or five agents approached us, and we ended up choosing Writer’s House (who also represents Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series). Our agent left shortly after we signed, so we communicated directly with our publisher. It was up to us to tread the waters on own and we took the initiative to communicate with our publisher Perigee, a division of Penguin Group. After that, there was just a whole lot of editing for the both of us—but it has been a wonderful ride.
MOCHI: What advice do you have for girls out there who want to become writers or publish a book?
TW: If you want to be a writer today, there is a lot of competition. Many people are willing to do it for a byline, so you really have to be strong willed and have a hard working personality and immense drive. You have to be truly passionate about it, because you might not get a lot of recognition in the beginning.
SW: I would consider myself a designer more than a writer, but when you first start off, as Teresa mentioned, you really have to pay your dues. My first gigs, I was working for no compensation. But it allowed me to gain experience and build up a portfolio for future opportunities.
MOCHI: Why do you think the book’s theme resonates so well with Mochi readers?
SW: I feel like as an Asian American, our parents are predominately first generation immigrants, and we all share the same communication and cultural barriers. Some of us may feel like they may have to blend into American culture or that there is no happy medium for our identities. We get a lot of emails from fans, saying “Thank you for creating MMIAF/MDIAF,” because it allows them to embrace their differences and not be ashamed of it. I believe the blog has created a space for Asian Americans to share experiences and connect.
MOCHI: What is your relationship like with your moms?
TW: I’m pretty close to my mom. I call her two to three times a week just to catch up. I know I am the most important person in her life, and she makes me feel that way… It’s cheesy but true. I think the same can be said about most Asian parents. We know we owe them so much for pretty much dedicating their whole lives to working in order to make ours better.
SW: My relationship with my mom is a little more atypical – she travels a lot for one to two months at a time, so we communicate mostly through email, Facebook and Twitter. We have more of an e-lationship where she likes to stalk me online. She will even comment on my sister’s profile to reach me because she’s on my limited profile. But it’s nice that she’s tech-savvy so we can communicate via social media. She even has her own blog!
To win a copy of the book, submit your own Mom and Dad FOB moments in the comments below. Three winners will be chosen. Good luck!