Belly Bulb Adventures

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Belly Bulb Adventures

Naomi Marie Smith recently published The Belly Bulb Adventures, a children's book about growing into who you are, in Duluth, MN

Belly Bulb Adventures

This awesome first children’s first picture book is the story of Little Bug. While being tucked in at bedtime by Grandpillar and Grandmiller, Little Bug notices how colorful their caterpillar belly bulbs are and asks how they grew. Through the telling of four different adventures they teach Little Bug that he, too, will grow and become who he is by the actions and experiences he has in life. When an experience is meaningful, a belly bulb will grow with a POP! and forever be a colorful reminder of that event or feeling.

Naomi requested assistance from the UMD Center for Economic Development to publish the book. Initially her preference was to look for an agent and a publisher who loved the book and was anxious to work with her. What she quickly learned is that the market is saturated. Even if a publisher would take on the book, the book wouldn't hit shelves for almost 2 years. Armed with knowledge of the publishing industry, she decided starting her own business was a better opportunity.

During the decision-making time, Naomi worked with Pat Campanaro, a SBDC business consultant. Pat suggested Naomi print prototypes of the book and set up focus groups with Preschool through 3rd-grade classes, child-life specialists, teachers and parents to test the book. Out of this experience the book changed a bit, and the coloring pages were born. The pictures seemed like an excellent communication tool for teachers and caregivers.

Writing and illustrating the book is only one-third of the process. The next step was learning an entire business from the ground up, including ISBN numbers, copyright laws, barcodes, website construction, shipping rates, PayPal buttons, hyperlinks, and more. “Publishing just one book is actually setting up an entire business around that one product. The final step will be securing my vendors and book signing events; AKA the marketing/promotional side of the business. CED was helpful in all aspects of getting my business off the ground,” said Naomi.

To print the book, she worked with an amazing team of people at Print Ninja Children’s Book Printer. "Soon we were off to the press in Shenzhen, China. It could not have been a better experience working with them and the book turned out beautiful! I especially like how the coloring pages on the back of the dust jacket turned out," Naomi said.

The Belly Bulb Adventures may be purchased at

Naomi was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and has been a graphic designer for a large healthcare system for the past 16 years. Naomi, her husband Mark and daughter Olivia live in Duluth.