Northlander publishes children’s book

“The Belly Bulb Adventures”
by Naomi Marie Smith
A UMD CED Client Story

Naomi Marie Smith has just published “The Belly Bulb Adventures” – a children’s book about growing into who you are.

Naomi requested assistance from the UMD Center for Economic Development on publishing a children’s 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 and even if a publisher would take on the book, it would be up to 2 years before it even hit the shelves. She decided starting her own business was a better opportunity.

During the process, Naomi worked with Pat Campanaro, a SBDC business consultant. Pat suggested she print prototypes of the book and set up focus groups with Preschoolers – 3rd grade classes, child-life specialists, teachers and parents to test the book.

10_18_16 Belly Bulb 4x4

This book is the story of Little Bug 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.

Writing and illustrating the book is only 1/3 of the process. The next step was learning an entire business from the ground up. This includes learning about ISBN numbers, copyright laws, barcodes, building a website, learning about shipping rates, PayPal buttons, hyperlinks, etc. Naomi states, “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,”

To print the book, she worked with a 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.

To purchase your copy of The Belly Bulb Adventures, go to

Naomi Smith 2x2About the author
Naomi Marie Smith was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Naomi, her husband Mark and daughter Olivia live in the city of Duluth, Minnesota.


The UMD Center for Economic Development works with over 800 northeastern Minnesota businesses each year assisting owners and entrepreneurs with strategies. These strategic services include: starting a business, growing a business, buying/selling a business, managing a business, marketing & sales, and more. The Center has offices in Duluth, Grand Marais, International Falls, Grand Rapids, and Virginia.


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