After proving herself as a writer, Chicago author Nubia Shambee has tapped SDA to take her business to a new level

At 27 years old, Nubia Shambee has already accomplished a lot as an author and businesswoman, writing more than 35 books and launching her own bookstore, Imagine To Dream. 

Shambee’s dynamic catalog spans from romantic and historical fiction to dramas and superhero odysseys. And she weaves words with brilliance as she transports readers right into the lives of her characters, though Shambee laughed and humbly characterized her writing style as being “a little all over the place” in a recent interview.

There’s arguably more competition now than ever to earn audiences’ attention and critical thought, as people have flocked to spend their leisure time on TikTok, Instagram and on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. 

But that hasn’t stopped Shambee from daring to dream. In just a few years, she has built her own literary universe, charted her own path as a storyteller, and taken steps to be a successful entrepreneur.

She has a bold vision for her future in the world of publishing. Readers aren’t going anywhere, as countless people still look to escape everyday life with a good book and remain eager to support the creatives behind their favorite titles.

“My goals for the future are really big,” Shambee said. “I would like to turn my books into animation. One day, I would also like to turn one into a film, and even games. I really feel like this whole thing is going to be super extraordinary and I can’t wait for it.”

 It was an easy choice for Shambee to reach out to the Southland Development Authority’s Business Growth Services team for no cost entrepreneurial and marketing help when she stumbled across an ad, which is what eventually brought SDA Relationship Manager Jamie Makuch into her orbit. 

Shambee knows, as many creatives do, “Marketing is hard.” 

In August, Makuch was able to help Shambee land a slot at her first-ever author showcase, an important step in her career as she gets set to publish a new book later this fall. 

“You’ve got to have the money to get your designs of what you need to sell out there,” she said. “Everyone should come to business consulting (at SDA) because it’s amazing. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Jamie and the Southland Development Authority.”

Fresh off her appearance at the Oak Lawn Public Library’s Local Author Showcase, Shambee couldn’t help but let a warm smile spread over her face as she explained what it meant to have a team working to back up her writing process with its critical business experience and valuable regional network.

“I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the help,” Shambee said. “Without this, I would not have really seeked out going in person and delivering my work. I would’ve been online. This has really opened up my mind to different possibilities and I really appreciate it.”

Once she was connected with Shambee, Makuch quickly got to work and began utilizing her professional network and her own experience to take a load off her client and bring new possibilities to life. 

Shambee sold six book bags at the event, a valuable development, especially since she had previously focused on pushing her materials to readers online.

But the opportunity to network among her peers, drawing on them for inspiration and community, may have been even more beneficial.

The Oak Lawn Public Library put on the showcase in partnership with Bookies, an independent bookstore in Chicago’s West Beverly neighborhood, with the goal in mind of making the event a convention for area authors. Participants took their books to a new and hyper interested audience, and library patrons milled about at different booths where authors sold their books, engaged with readers one-on-one and discussed other aspects of the business. 

Shambee and Makuch are planning to attend similar events in the region as Shambee continues to network among her peers, expand her readership, and build out her online bookshop. 

“That was a unique opportunity, this was like one of my first in-person events,” Shambee said. “And like I said, I’m mainly online. I have a lot of great videos on TikTok that showcase my book box, and my books on Amazon. I recently started my YouTube channel. I’m helping other authors, aspiring writers who want to create their own books, and even promoting my own books.”

About Southland Development Authority 

The Southland Development Authority is a nonprofit business organization launched in 2019 by business, civic, and political leaders from around the Southland who recognize the potential of the region’s people, businesses, infrastructure, and real estate. The Authority brings the resources and capacity necessary to achieve transformative and inclusive economic growth for the region. It focuses on investment in industry, workforce, housing, and communities.

We work steadfastly to connect Southland business owners, investors, and individuals with key resources to operate and thrive in the region, from equipping mid-size and small businesses in our Business Growth services Program with customized advice and consulting services, to helping local residents access the tools needed to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. With a deep institutional knowledge of the Southland’s people, markets, and history and our multifaceted, experienced team, the Southland Development Authority is a powerful partner for any individual, business, or investor.

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