Chicago Southland Dad Writes Empowering Business Book For Babies
Early last month local Chicago Southland dad Andrew Dorazio’s first children’s book was launched. I got an advance copy and couldn’t wait to read it to my two and half year old daughter. Baby’s First Business Book is an inspired idea that I’m suprised has never been attempted before. And there’s no better time than right now to empower girls.
Quick Review Of Baby’s First Business Book
Dorazio has created a wonderful book geared towards girls to inspire them to be their own boss and go into business for themselves when they grow up. The concepts and illustrations go perfectly together along with the words. It’s an ABC style book, with a different letter of the alphabet on each page accompanied with good advice related to a word. Ideal for kids ages 5 and under, Baby’s First Business Book will not only teach new words to your young child, it could open up a dialogue about money and business that makes it unique to other baby books. It’s available to buy on Amazon, or via its publisher Mascot Books.
My Interview with Author Andrew Dorazio
When did you first start to develop a passion for writing children’s books?
Ironically a friend and I had an idea for a children’s book back in 2007, but never took it beyond our road trip across the country. That changed though when my daughter was born. I found I was reading her a ton of fantastic books but not many, or any for that matter, that were focused on business or entrepreneurship. As an attempt to bring business topics to light earlier in children’s lives, especially towards girls, I decided to write my own, and that’s how “Baby’s First Business Book” was born.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Port Chester, NY, a small suburb just north of New York City. I still visit quite often as a lot of my family and friends are still there. It’s an amazing little community that is vibrant and filled with diversity, amazing food and fun things to do.
How many children do you have?
My wife Susie and I have two children; Rose Everly who is 18 months and Peter John (PJ) who is 9 weeks old.
Where do you call home now?
About 8 years ago my wife (then fiancé) and I moved to Chicago from El Paso, Texas. We now live in the Beverly neighborhood, about 5 blocks from where my wife grew up.
If you don’t write full-time, what is your primary profession and where did you get your training for what you do?
I am a supply chain consultant for Ernst & Young (EY) as my full time career. I help companies improve by savings cost, time, resources etc. from their operations, typically in manufacturing environments. I am also a realtor and real estate investor in various markets across the US, which has been my passion for a long time. I am not trained in writing formally but have read a lot of children’s book so I think that qualifies me to write one 😊
What’s something interesting that has happened since your book’s release?
I always love helping people, but one interesting thing that has happened was a number of people reaching out to me asking HOW I was able to go about the book writing process, as they themselves had book ideas of their own that they always wanted to start but never had the time or knowledge to move forward. From my follow-on conversations with these friends, many are now under way of starting their own writing journey which makes me so happy to think that I even played a role in getting them started. I like to tell people that if I can do it, literally anyone can.
What’s the driving force of your writing?
My children for sure. I never wrote this book or my next one in the works to make money, but to have something for my children to look back on and say “that was a cool thing dad did for us” and of course to maybe inspire one girl or boy to one day have the courage to get into business for themselves.
How did you go about starting your book? What was the inspiration?
When I got the idea for the book, I literally called every person I could find who wrote a book that I knew. The list wasn’t too long but I was extremely grateful for the time these individuals gave me early in the journey. Everything I do is a team sport so I knew trying to go about this process alone was not the right course for me. After initial research and taking into consideration a number of pieces of advice, I just started writing draft after draft. I used friends and family for initial reviews and made updates based off of the feedback that I received. I partnered with two friends (Vickie and Lizzie Savanella) I grew up with as my illustrators, who I have known since Kindergarten, which was an awesome process. They literally took my vision and ran with it and could not have done a better job. I am extremely grateful for their talents and was amazed at how great the artwork came out.
Are you self-published? How did you get your book printed and released?
I originally started down the Amazon KDP route but knew I wanted a hard cover, which was not an option through that program. My first step after writing the book and getting the illustrations finalized was to get a single physical copy created. This was important for me because it made it real, feeling that hard copy in my hand was tremendous and allowed me to really focus on making it better and taking it to the next level. I then interviewed a number of book manufacturers and publishers and ended up going with Mascot Books, who had what I found to be the most comprehensive package of services and best per unit pricing on the books and the broadest distribution that I could find. Getting on Amazon was vital in the process, and they were able to do that for me. I always encourage folks to try things on their own, but having a partner in the process made my life exponentially easier. Trying and failing at certain aspects of the process early on though did help make the book better in my opinion.
Walk me through something you do to help you with writer’s block?
I write mostly at night before bed. I have become a night owl for some time now (despite roughly 10 years in the Army) so I do some of my best thinking when its quiet and everyone else is asleep. Any time I would hit writer’s block I would try to stop and take a break, sometimes calling on my friends and family to think through certain phrases or wording.
What advice would you give a parent who is struggling and doesn’t know how to make their dream book come true?
Just start with small steps and break the process out into manageable chunks. I started by writing on my “notes” app on my iPhone and then started to shape it out little by little. It doesn’t happen overnight, but as mentioned it is a team sport so find someone who has gone through the process and learn as much as you can from them. Do research as well; read other books, join Facebook groups, call publishers etc. and gain as much knowledge as possible. Just always keep moving forward, taking little steps each day.
What get’s you really excited, that makes what you do a joy?
I am an entrepreneur at heart so this entire process of creating something was amazing for me. What really get’s me excited is seeing pictures of kids reading the book, and having my daughter grab it off the shelf, that really makes it all worth it for me.
What are some future plans you have?
I have another children’s book in the works but am not completed with the process yet. It has a business flair to it but slightly different than the first. Also hope to sleep again soon once my son gets a little bigger, and having more face to face human interaction once the virus risks are mitigated. I do plan to keep coming up with creative ideas and trying to bring them into the market.
In today’s struggling economy, what steps have you taken to continue to grow?
My biggest takeaway from this crazy year has been twofold; keep working on myself and to help others in need, both things I can control. I have been reading a ton and trying to better myself by joining mastermind groups and surrounding myself with growth-oriented people. I am working to help mentor a number other folks in real estate and will be implementing a charity donation program with a portion of book proceeds going to a different organization every quarter. It is easy to let external factors get you down and influence your day, but I have found that focusing on the things that I have direct control over has really helped me.
What or who are your influences?
My wife influences me quite a bit, she is my biggest fan but also gives me the best feedback that I don’t always think I need to hear (but always do). She puts up with my crazy ideas and encourages me to think outside of the box. My kids are my reason for doing anything now, so of course me wanting to be a good role model for them is paramount.
What books, podcasts, articles, etc. do you read/listen to that have influenced the way you approach writing?
Most of my reading and listening deals with real estate or business and not specific to book writing, but when I started this process I did immerse myself in the subject of writing and publishing and watched a ton of YouTube tutorials on how to do each piece of the process. I remember struggling to format the margins of the PDF version of the book and taking hours and hours to do something that in hindsight was a relatively easy task. I did draw a lot of influence from my friend Mike Nemeth’s work, who has written a number of children’s books and was someone whom I regularly consulted with whenever I hit roadblocks. The man is a creative genius and was a tremendous help throughout the process.
Where is your favorite place here in the Chicago Southland (i.e. a restaurant, park, etc.) and why?
I am a big outdoor / nature fan so being outside always makes me happy. I really enjoy the Worth Waterfalls (Harry Yourell Off-Stream Aeration Pool) as a cool place to walk with the kids and relax a bit. I absolutely love the Beverly neighborhood and walking down Longwood Drive just admiring the beauty of the homes and the historic architecture. Finally, I am a huge pizza fan, all kinds, but do love Milano’s Pizza in Beverly as our family’s go-to spot, as well Open Outcry across the street for their food, drink and atmosphere. Although I love New York style pizza, I think it is safe to say that liking both New York and Chicago styles is ok and acceptable.
Is there anything else that I haven’t asked you that you would like people to know about you and/or your book?
This book is geared towards girls, it doesn’t stand out as such until you open it but I wanted to normalize business and entrepreneurship with young girls and this was the best way I knew how.
I am an Army veteran and try to do as much as I can to give back to struggling veterans in the Chicagoland area.
If anyone has any questions or wants to chat about the process, I would be more than happy to talk to anyone and can be reached at (914) 420-2881.