The IBPA Publishing University Scholarship Program provides members of the independent book publishing community interested in advancing their publishing program the opportunity to apply for a complimentary ticket to IBPA Publishing University. IBPA awards one complimentary ticket to each IBPA affiliate association and a limited number of complimentary tickets to at-large IBPA members (i.e., members not associated with an IBPA affiliate). IBPA has full discretion over the awarding of a scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.
The 2021 scholarship application deadline is November 30, 2020.
Scholarships awarded in 2020 will not rollover to 2021. 2020 scholarship winners must reapply for 2021.
The IBPA Publishing University Scholarship is intended for individuals working in the independent publishing industry who need assistance in growing their publishing program. When the conference is held in-person, IBPA encourages affiliate associations to provide a stipend to help cover their scholarship recipient’s travel and accommodation costs. Please check with your local affiliate association to see if this is being offered.

In evaluating applicants, IBPA considers how the scholarship will assist the individual to become a successful publisher. IBPA also requires that the recipient share what they learned at IBPA Publishing University through an article published on the IBPA website and, if applicable, with their affiliate association members.
Each applicant must be:
  • A current member of both the sponsoring affiliate association and IBPA.*
  • Actively participating in the publishing process as a publisher of their own or others work.
  • In a position to benefit immediately from the scholarship.

*A limited number of at-large scholarships are awarded to current members of IBPA who are not associated with any affiliate association (one scholarship awarded to each winner).
IBPA considers the following questions when reviewing each applicant:
  • How will attendance at IBPA Publishing University assist the individual in his/her publishing career?
  • How will attendance at IBPA Publishing University be translated into the day-to-day operations of the individual’s business?
  • How will the scholarship winner share the information learned at IBPA Publishing University with their affiliate association or the IBPA community at-large? This sharing may take various forms, such as a published blog post, presentations at meetings, and mentoring of others throughout the year.
  • Did the applicant win an IBPA Publishing University scholarship in 2019? To serve as many members as possible, a scholarship cannot be awarded to the same member two years in a row. After two years, scholarship winners are welcome to reapply. (Because IBPA Publishing University 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19, 2020 scholarship winners are welcome to reapply for 2021.)
The scholarship includes:
  • Full conference ticket for IBPA Publishing University 2021, scheduled to be held online from April 7-10, 2021.
  • Networking opportunities with peers and mentors.

IBPA Publishing University 2020 Scholarship Winners



Managing Editor

Atthis Arts

Chris Bell (he/him) is managing editor for Detroit-based indie publisher Atthis Arts.

A former system architect for the U.S. Intelligence Community turned stay-at-home-dad, Chris now manages the business and technical side of their small press alongside wife and author E.D.E. Bell.

With a particular fondness for speculative fiction, Atthis Arts strives to publish quality books that honor the authentic and artistic voice of authors while striving for social responsibility. An accomplished typesetter and e-book techie, Chris produces all print-ready files and e-book distributions for Atthis Arts in addition to managing the company’s legal and financial affairs.

Chris also provides freelance interior design and typesetting services to indie-published authors and is proud to be found on the copyright and acknowledgment pages of several best-selling and award-winning books. If he had free time, you might find him on the golf course.

Chris Bell accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPA).



Author Publisher

Kevin Desrosiers is in the process of writing his first book which will be available in June 2020. Bridge Over Adversity: True Stories About Overcoming Personal Challenges, tells the stories of twelve people who have faced severe adversity in their lives, ranging from addictions, to homelessness, to incarceration. The book concludes with a discussion of how similar choices initially made it difficult for each person to overcome their problems, and how mutual actions and attitudes eventually enabled them to “Bridge Over” their adversity.


Kevin’s book was inspired by his father who grew up in poverty, dropped out of high school, and joined the Air Force. After leaving the service, getting married, and having two children, he decided that he wanted to make a better life for his family. Going to school at night while working full time to support his family, Kevin’s father ultimately earned his GED and went on to finish both college and graduate school.  Kevin has also been inspired by the many people he has met and stories he has heard during his 20 years as a member of Toastmasters. 


Kevin plans to utilize his Toastmaster skills to speak at events for organizations that specialize in helping people overcome adversity, offering inspirational stories about others who have conquered similar challenges in their lives. Eventually, this will evolve as an ongoing series of books and motivational speaking events, each focusing on specific stories of adversity.  

Kevin Desrosiers accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA).



Founder & Owner

INCLUDAS Publishing

Luda Gogolushko is founder and owner of INCLUDAS Publishing, a press dedicated to representing authors, illustrators, and fictional characters with disabilities. Projects range from children’s books to wedding planners, and include a special celebration on December 3rd, which is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

It all began many years ago when Luda was born with muscular dystrophy, a neuromuscular disease that deteriorates muscles over time. Since age nine, she has been using a wheelchair, blazing along to make her own accessible path in life. From serving on a national diversity committee for collegiate recreation to working with Google to help test different accessibility measures, Luda knows that the fight for inclusion is far from over.

A passion for the entertainment industry since middle school, Luda took her dreams of the red carpet all the way to college, where she used a simple assignment and turned it into a dream—she wrote a paper on the Oscars, and got a special tour of the event in Los Angeles. A fighter at heart, she never gave up on getting an internship with Universal Studios Hollywood and the GRAMMY museum. But the biggest reward is having freedom to create her own fiction, build limitless worlds that only come in dreams, and strive to one day take a story to the big screen. Because despite all struggles and hardships, Luda turns to writing to create a reality that ignites a magical realm.

Luda Gogolushko accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.



Founder & Publisher

Avantpop Books

Ilana “Sugar” Laytart is on a mission to experience all that life has to offer. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising, School of Journalism, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, she used her skills as a photographer and writer to work with Snowboard Secrets and Bl!sss Magazine all while volunteering with Boarding for Breast Cancer. 


Sugar, always wanting to give back, joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Burkina Faso for a far too short (2 weeks) trip. Unfortunately, her skin did not react well to the African environment and she could either stay and risk getting a deadly bacterial infection or cut her journey short and head home. She chose the latter. 


Back in the States, Sugar found herself restless, so she packed up her car and drove from Los Angeles to Canada. There she became a roller derby star and received her Permaculture Design certification. She then made her way to Costa Rica where she worked with a turtle conservation organization and became a certified yoga trainer.


While in Costa Rica, a friend had mentioned a town in Northern California she should check out. She did and after falling in love with the area, she soon fell in love with her future husband, a writer with whom she would become a journalist couple and together begin being published in magazines across the country while also running a cannabis business. Sugar and her husband co-founded Avantpop Books in 2019, an online secondhand bookstore and publisher based in Las Vegas. Avantpop Books specializes in publishing stories and art with a progressive counter-culture voice and is dedicated to supporting the literary and arts community in Las Vegas.

Ilana “Sugar” Laytart accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.



Marketing, Publicity, & Author Relationship Specialist

Farcountry Press & Sweetgrass Books

It may come as no surprise that, after studying English and Creative Writing, Abby Shea Pigott’s career rocketed through a series of less than fulfilling gigs. After many starts and stops, she created her own “dream job” as a small business owner, creative director, brand developer, event planner, relationship builder, grant writer, community organizer, and grassroots marketer. It was a thrilling time of challenge, growth, and personal and professional success.


But something was missing: her beloved home state of Montana. Abby Shea missed the lakes and rivers of her youth. She pined for Montana’s “Big Sky” and bounty of untamed places. And she was getting pretty tired of traffic. So she moved home, welcomed two precious and wild children into the world, spent as much time as possible outside with her family, and when the time was right, found a professional home at Farcountry Press and Sweetgrass Books.


Established in 1980, Farcountry Press is a family owned, Montana-based independent publisher dedicated to producing award-winning photo books, guidebooks, cookbooks, regional histories, and several children’s series. Their slogan, Taking You Places, is also one of their core objectives. Every idea, pitch, and project begins with the question: “Where will this take our readers?”


Sweetgrass Books is the custom-publishing division of Farcountry Press—offering professional editorial, design, production, print management, and distribution services.


A natural-born (and some might say compulsive) problem solver, Abby Shea collaborates to find creative solutions wherever the need arises. She is tasked with advancing the company’s marketing and publicity strategies. Her goals for 2020 are to establish and grow her relationships within the publishing community, hone and enhance the Farcountry and Sweetgrass brands, and expand her knowledge of the book business so that she can be the best possible resource for her team at Farcountry, for the creators they represent, and for published and seeking-to-publish authors everywhere.

Abby Shea Pigott accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.




Historical Tails

Vicki Tashman has always loved historical fiction and wanted to introduce children to the genre. Her first children's book, Buzzy and Thomas Move into the President’s House, is about Thomas Jefferson’s dog, Buzzy and her conquering her fear of change. Her second book, Dash and Victoria Finds True Love, is about Queen Victoria’s dog, Dash, and how he learns his heart is big enough to love more than one person. Both books have won numerous awards including the Moonbeam award, Reader’s Choice and Creative Child Book of the Year award. She’s currently working on her 3rd book (releasing Fall 2020), Trouve and Alec Talk Back, about Alexander Graham Bell’s dog, Trouve, and how he uses his voice to gain back his self-confidence.


Vicki has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado. She is a breast cancer survivor and was an advocate for 10 years. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Independent Writers of Southern California (IWOSC), and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and golden retriever, Georgia.

Vicki Tashman accepts the IBPA Publishing University scholarship on behalf of Publishers Association of Los Angeles (PALA).




Good Day Media

Janet F. Williams authored the highly acclaimed self-help book, You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get, named by Kirkus Indie as one of their top ten books of 2010. She founded her company, Good Day Media, to provide a publishing platform and now uses it as an umbrella for all her creative endeavors. In 2014, she published a YA novella, Superior, under her pen name for lesbian fiction, Zoe Amos.


Janet provides a variety of services, helping authors with manuscript development, critique, and editing for fiction and non-fiction. As a writing coach, she provides instruction for those who desire individual attention. She teaches at the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego and Irvine, and is a sought after speaker. Janet helps businesses with website content, business correspondence, ezines and ebooks.


Several of her books are in different stages of progress. After winning a few awards for her literary short stories, she is working toward assembling them into a book-length compilation. She has a completed lesbian romance ready for print. Her current project is working on the first draft of her memoir, a cross between Wild and 13 Reasons Why with a dollop of Eat, Pray, Love.


Janet resides in North San Diego County where she loves to be in nature. In her spare time, she writes the stories she likes to read.


For more information, please visit: and

Janet F. Williams accepts the IBPA Publishing University scholarship on behalf of Publishers and Writers of San Diego (PWSD).



Editorial Director

Histria Books

Kurt Brackob is the editorial director for Histria Books, an independent publisher with offices in Las Vegas and Palm Beach. In this capacity, Kurt coordinates the creative team at Histria Books and works with a wide range of authors to prepare their manuscripts for publication across the various imprints of the company, which include Vita Histria, Gaudium Publishing, Addison & Highsmith Publishers, The Center for Romanian Studies, and Histria Kids.


Histria Books began as an academic publisher in 1996, and Kurt has also overseen the expansion of the publishing house in recent years with its acquisition of Addison & Highsmith Publishers, an imprint dedicated to outstanding works of fiction, the creation of its new Gaudium Publishing imprint, devoted to cutting edge non-fiction, and its worldwide distribution contract with Casemate. He believes that the key to success in the publishing industry is to work closely with authors and to maintain clear and open communication during each step of the publishing process.


As Histria Books continues to grow, Kurt has found that the Independent Book Publisher’s Association provides a wealth of information and services that are indispensable to small and independent publishers. He enjoys sharing the knowledge he acquires to help his team develop and grow. Check out Histria Books online at

Kurt Brackob accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.



Founder, Editor

eDitmore Editorial Services

Tammy Ditmore launched her editing career on her high school newspaper in the dark days of disco. In the ensuing decades, she has edited for daily newspapers, book and journal publishers, marketing firms, universities, grad students, and independent authors.


Since opening eDitmore Editorial Services in 2011, Tammy has worked with scores of authors, publishers, businesses, and organizations, editing everything from 30-word marketing pieces to 1,500-page academic books. A specialist in nonfiction, she brings a passion for precise language and a knack for spotting careless mistakes to her clients, whether they are crafting the first book of their lives or their third press release of the day.


Tammy has been a member of Small Publishers, Writers & Artists Network (SPAWN) since 2011 and has served as a board member since 2016. Her connections with SPAWN and IBPA have helped her mentor clients through the publishing process, supporting them as they transform raw text into published books.


A native Texan, Tammy now lives in Newbury Park, California, where she shares her office with a canine assistant who is more interested in cats than commas. She sometimes finds time to write a few lines for her blog, “Editing and More,” which you can find at

Tammy Ditmore accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of the Small Publishers, Artists, & Writers Network (SPAWN).



Co-Founder & Creative Director

Talegari Tales LLC

Manasa Gururaj is co-founder and creative director of Talegari Tales LLC, born out of a desire to give a fresh perspective on South Asian life and culture, particularly that of India. Her first book is a novelty board book on Hindu gods and goddesses. The company also makes activities to complement its books, such as puzzles, board games, etc. 


Manasa is working on her next book, which gives readers a sneak peek on various dishes from indian cuisine, which will also be published by Talegari Tales. She is a member of the SCBWI and has sought mentoring for her writing. 


Manasa lives in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters. Check out her website

Manasa Gururaj accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.



Author Publisher

Kelly "Nerdzilla" Mendenhall is a self-proclaimed recovering nonprofit professional living in Middle Tennessee, USA. Kelly spent her formative years witnessing the collapse of the automobile industry in Flint, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master's in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University. In June of 2017, Kelly became suddenly medically disabled and lost her mobility nearly entirely. Her career in the nonprofit sector came to a grinding halt, but she was able to reconnect with her creative self as a result. Kelly is the founder of Nerdzilla Media, LLC.

Kelly identifies as a "Spoonie" (read: The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino) living with multiple diagnoses of invisible illnesses, both physical and psychological. She is an Author, Blogger, Freelance Journalist, and Self-Care Advocate and Activist raising awareness in regard to the phenomenon of Medical Gaslighting that often leaves women permanently disabled or, in worse case scenarios, deceased. Her mission is to turn her mess into a message and show the world that a medical diagnosis/diagnoses do not have to mark the end of one's story.

Kelly wrote of herself, "When my body failed me suddenly, it didn't just change one aspect of my life. It changed everything. It forced me to reevaluate what I wanted and how I wanted to live. Life as I knew it is over, but I'm just getting started." Hers is a story of survival, human connection, false steps, and ascension.

Kelly published her debut book – a memoir – in June 2019. Hers is a story of survival, human connection, false steps, and ascension. Skin in the Game: The Stories My Tattoos Tell takes a unique approach to memoirs and autobiographies in that is not chronological in a traditional sense. The author tells of the pivotal moments in her life by telling the stories behind her eclectic collection of tattoos. As one reviewer stated, "Skin in the Game is a raw and honest autobiography that twists the genre on its head for the post-modern reader." (Lorna Goode, Consumer review)

For more information about Kelly and her various projects, visit

Kelly Mendenhall accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.




Sarah Publishing, LLC

April D. Pritchard is a captivating speaker, author, engineer, and owner of Sarah Publishing, LLC.  For the past 12 years, she has worked in the aerospace industry.  She has performed analysis, design, and testing for various projects and has presented scientific results to many customers.  April has also led and encouraged many new hires at the start of their career journey during new employee on-boarding sessions.  April holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.

April is passionate about helping others.  She was a mentor for the University City FIRST Robotics Robo Lions team and Washington University in St. Louis Engineering Mentor Program.  She inspired and motivated young girls in her own God’s Girl meetup group.  Recently, she helped participants in her Level Up for 2020 workshop develop great goals for 2020.

April enjoys writing.  She recently started writing the majority of the monthly newsletters for the Society of Women Engineers St. Louis Section.  Also, April wrote her first book! Gifted Single encourages single women to use their God-given gifts in order to fulfill their life’s purpose.  Check out her website at to learn more about her Level Up workshop, speaking opportunities and her soon to be released book Gifted Single.

April D. Pritchard accepts the IBPA Publishing University scholarship on behalf of St. Louis Publishers Association (SLPA).



Managing Editor

Interstellar Flight Press

Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and Managing Editor of Interstellar Flight Press. She is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. In Houston, she volunteers with Writespace, a local literary non-profit. Holly's poetry and short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Luna Station Quarterly, Liminality, and elsewhere. She is the author of Glimmerglass Girl, winner of the SPFA Elgin Award (Finishing Line Press, 2018).


In 2019, Holly founded Interstellar Flight Press, a new speculative publishing house and online journal dedicated to publishing underrepresented genres and voices in science fiction and fantasy. Interstellar Flight Press publishes books that aren't normally picked up by the top five publishing houses. In the words of Ursula K. Le Guin, we need “writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope.” In the last year, Interstellar Flight Magazine published interviews with authors T. Kingfisher, Bogi Takács, Valerie Valdes, R.F. Kuang, Christian McKay Heidicker, Elizabeth Lim, Caitlin Starling, Emily A. Duncan, and Yoon Ha Lee.

Holly Lyn Walrath accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.

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