Naomi Marie Smith

Author | Illustrator | Designer

Synopsis: 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.


About the Author: I was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and have been a graphic designer for a large healthcare system for the past 16 years.


My husband Mark, daughter Olivia and I live in the historical city of Duluth, Minnesota. If you are not familiar with Duluth, I encourage you to check it out in late July and early August for the best chance of great weather.


Independent Publishing over Traditional? While working with the amazing people of the UMD Center for Economic Development , who were an excellent source for research and data, I did submit to a select number of agents and publishers. I received the normal polite decline from my inquiries. This was expected, so while I was waiting the customary 3 months (to never) for responses, I started my research on Independent publishing. What I found is that the market is saturated and even if I did land a publisher, it would be up to 2 years before it even hit the shelves. I also read numerous articles that claimed even with a publisher I would be doing my own self promoting, as traditional publishers do not have the budgets anymore. It was decided - I will start my own business!


During the decision making time I printed prototypes of the book and set up focus groups with Preschoolers – 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. They seemed like an excellent communication tool for teachers and caregivers. I was astounded by the cool drawings the children did. Sample from a 3rd grader. A ghost!


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 myself (thank you Adobe MUSE!), learning about shipping rates, Paypal buttons, hyperlinks, etc, etc. 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.


To print the book, I worked with an amazing team of people at Print Ninja Children's Book Printer. I collaborated with Elle in their Chicago office to strategize and to do all the pre-press logistics.  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.


I plan on fully experiencing the joy of my first book and then decide if I want to expand the business to a full-blown publishing company. I have other titles in the creative works - we'll see if I like the business side of things.