Spotlight: REAP Helps Author Meet Deadline

Several years ago Shelly Burke was ready to self-publish her third book. She planned to get a small business loan through REAP, and had almost completed the online application when she learned about a special offer from the self-publishing company.

For a limited time, Shelly could receive copies of her new book, What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life’s Sticky, Tricky, Uncomfortable Situations, at a lower price, allowing her to order more books for the same amount of money. The only problem – she had three days to make a deposit on the account and qualify for the special.

Shelly completed the online application and talked with Eugene Rahn, Senior Business Specialist, about her tight deadline. Gene evaluated Shelly’s loan application right away. She remembers, “It was Christmas week, and I didn’t think there was any way I could get the loan in time to make my deposit and get the extra books. However, Monica Braun met me in Columbus right after Christmas, with the loan papers ready to sign. She explained everything, and I went to the bank with my check that day and was able to order my books before the deadline!”

REAP’s detailed online application helped Shelly make a plan to market her book. She followed that plan after she received the loan. The small monthly payments and interest rate were not overwhelming, and Shelly made the last payment on her loan in January. “Thanks to REAP, I was able to fulfill my dream of self-publishing another book!” Shelly says. “It is so rewarding to hear that my books have made a difference to readers.”

As well as authoring books, Shelly is now also the Editor and Publisher of the Nebraska Family Times, a monthly newspaper with a mission “To inspire, encourage, and motivate readers in their Christian walk.”

Extending her network, she recently joined the Columbus Area REAP Roundtable. The roundtable meets monthly, with members giving programs about some aspect of being a small business owner and sharing ideas and encouragement. Shelly says, “The REAP Roundtable is very helpful to my business. Other business owners have valuable information to share, and I’ve found out about and attended workshops and meetings I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Being a REAP member offers many benefits, and I encourage any small business owner to join!”

Shelly and her husband Tim live near Genoa, NE, where Tim has a cattle business. Their son Cody attends Kansas State University, and their daughter Morgan is a junior at Lakeview High School. Shelly is active at Peace Lutheran Church and enjoys photography and being outside when the weather is warm.

Discover more: To read an excerpt of any of Shelly’s books, go to Her other books include How to Find Your Perfect Job in Nursing and Home is Where the Mom Is: A Christian Mom’s Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home. For a free sample issue of the Nebraska Family Times, email