Maria Nhambu is an inspiring author, educator, dancer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Maria’s last name, “Nhambu,” meaning “one who connects,” describes her perfectly. She has made it her life mission to share her love of Africa and its culture and rhythms with America. She is the creator of Aerobics With Soul®, a popular fitness program based on African dances she learned while growing up in Tanzania.
Nhambu’s book, America’s Daughter, was named a Book Excellence Award Finalist in 2018 in the Biography category. It is the sequel in the Dancing Soul Trilogy and shares Nhambu’s struggles and triumphs as she passes through young adulthood into middle age. It is an honest and captivating recount of how Nhambu finds and creates the family she longed for as a child and connects with her unknown background.
Challenges as an Author
Nhambu faced several challenges when it came to marketing her book.
The first was a disconnect between the message she was trying to share and the advice she had received from industry professionals.
“Publishers seemed overwhelmed by my complex story. Several PR people wanted to convert my story into a self-help book. All these efforts represented a lot of time and money wasted!”
Nhambu also encountered issues with attracting media attention for her book.
“Many PR people promised the world, but delivered next to nothing.”
For Nhambu, it was important to find a way to present her story in an honest and accurate manner as it was meant to be told.
“I wanted to share my unique story of growing up biracial in Africa, then coming to America where I learned to be Black.”
She wanted to gain exposure for her book, so more people could learn from and be influenced by her story. Reaching a wider audience would also help Nhambu continue her legacy of being a bridge between African and American cultures.
Becoming a Book Excellence Award Finalist
When Nhambu discovered she had been named a Book Excellence Award Finalist, she was:
“Very pleased. I appreciated the recognition.”
Adding the award seal to her website helped Nhambu impress followers and gain more positive attention. The seal provided instant credibility and a tangible result without Nhambu having to waste additional time or money.
“I’m glad for the seal on my web site…it looks good.”
Nhambu’s passion for her heritage and cultural identity is inspiring and has helped propel the success of her book forward. Countless favorable reviews have been shared, calling the book:
“An international treasure,”
“A compelling story… told with candor and a kind of fierceness,”
“Well written, easy and a fast read that leaves the reader wanting more.”
Nhambu has been invited as a guest speaker to events at libraries, conferences and organizations including those for Rotary Clubs, book clubs, Common Good Books, Friends of the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, the American Association of University Women, the Spady Museum in Delray Beach, and more.
She has been featured in national media outlets including television, radio, newspapers and blogs including Fox, Democratic Visions, The Coastal Star, Remarkable Woman, the Palm Beach Post and more.
Always eager to share her experience, Nhambu’s message and teachings have ignited a passion for heritage and identity in the minds and hearts of her readers. Her leadership and activism have also led her to become a board member of an organization called Operation Bootstrap Africa (OBA), where she uses her experience as a tool to raise awareness about challenges facing families and communities in Africa.
Nhambu’s advice for authors interested in entering the Book Excellence Awards is:
“Do it! It’s a good experience. The people I work with have been attentive and responsive — that means a lot!! Good follow through.”