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The IBPA Publishing University Scholarship Program provides IBPA members 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 two 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 2020 scholarship application deadline is November 30, 2019.
The IBPA Publishing University Scholarship is intended for individuals working in the independent publishing industry who need assistance in growing their publishing program. IBPA encourages affiliate associations to provide a stipend to help cover the 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. We also require that the recipient share what they learned at IBPA Publishing University through a blog post published on the IBPA website and, if applicable, with their affiliate association members.
Each applicant must be:
  • A 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.

*Two or three at-large scholarships will be awarded to qualified applicants 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 Publishing University assist the individual in his/her publishing career?
  • How will attendance at 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 Publishing University with their affiliate association? 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.
The estimated value of the scholarship is $400**; it includes:
  • Free Full Conference Pass to IBPA Publishing University.
  • Free ticket to the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards Ceremony, held the 1st evening of IBPA Publishing University.
  • Networking opportunities with peers and mentors.
  • Face-to-face access to some of the most respected names in the business of independent publishing.
**The scholarship does not cover travel and accommodations or the cost of attending preconference sessions.

2019 IBPA Publishing University Scholarship Winners


Hogan’s Hope is the expression of a compassionate heart that reaches out with love to all of God’s creations. The book is the result of a lifetime of experiences that taught Connie Bombaci the importance of hope in overcoming all kinds of obstacles.  As a child she rescued both domestic and wild orphaned or abandoned animals, increasing her belief that all of them deserve to be safe and secure. Her avid belief in the goodness of everyone led her to the field of education where she worked fervently to increase young people’s confidence to succeed no matter what. With a combined tenure of over twenty-five years, she served as a teacher of television production at the high school and university levels and then as Associate Principal for the high school. Connie encouraged young people, helping them to develop their self-confidence and reassurance that they could achieve their dreams.

Connie found her voice in writing Hogan’s story, her first publication. Her courage in overcoming her lack of experience in writing and publishing demonstrates that anyone can overcome perceived limitations. The success of her book, Hogan’s Hope, validates Connie’s inspirational message and has found an appreciative audience.  As a retiree and recipient of IBPA’s well-established resources, her desire is to offer others the help and self-reliance that they, too, can achieve their aspirations and sought-after goals. By taking the leap of faith, Connie provides an example that becoming an indie author and publisher is indeed possible.

Connie Bombaci accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of the Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association.

Hogan's Hope

author, publisher



Cornelia Feye founded Konstellation Press, an independent publishing company for genre fiction and poetry at the intersection of art, music and literature in 2017, but she has published indie books since 2011. Since its inception, Konstellation Press has published three poetry volumes, two historical fiction novels, an anthology, a family saga, and two art mystery novels.


Konstellation Press’s name was inspired by the star constellation of the summer triangle, consisting of Vega, Deneb, and Altair. They strive to create constellations between authors; constellations between disciplines, such as art, music, and literature, as well as collaborative constellations between independent books stores, alternative art spaces, and writers.


Cornelia received her M.A. in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Tübingen, Germany. She has over twenty years of professional museum and teaching experience in New York and San Diego. Her non-fiction publications include art historical essays and reviews.

After graduation Cornelia traveled around the world for seven years. Her adventures on the road found their way into her writing. After a stint in New York City, she settled in Ocean Beach, California, where she enjoys writing, publishing, rollerblading, and dancing tango.

Cornelia Feye accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of Publishers & Writers of San Diego.

Konstellation Press (konstellationpress.com) publisher, founder, author



Hanna Kjeldbjerg was raised to be a polka dancer, but works in publishing instead. She has worked at Beaver’s Pond Press since 2012—first as an intern, then as a managing editor, and most recently, as the creative director. She has had the pleasure of partnering with over seventy-five authors to bring their sizable stories to life.


Hanna is active in the Twin Cities literary scene as the founder of a grassroots literary and arts organization, Err Artist Collective. With Err, Hanna curates monthly public events featuring emerging writers, visual artists, and musicians. Err also creates a monthly handmade art & literary zine, Errata, and has published an anthology of over one hundred up-and-coming Twin Cities artists.


Hanna believes that collaboration is key to any artistic endeavor, and looks forward to expanding her community of creators.

Hanna Kjeldbjerg accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable.

Beaver's Pond Press

creative director



Graced with an abundance of gifts, Dr. De’Andrea Matthews, without reservation, selflessly pours her heart into her work and into the lives of many in various capacities. Commonly known as Dr. Dee, Dr. Matthews is an author, educator, international conference speaker, and pastor. Passionate and accomplished, Dr. Dee’s gifts, exercised through voice and pen, have aspired many to embark upon their own road to success.
Dr. Dee is the president of Claire Aldin Publications, LLC. She has written and published several books, including: Their Darkest Hour, Reboot Global Breakout Bible Study Guide, Almost Doesn’t Count, and Letters to my Angry Self. She is currently working on her first full-length non-fiction book entitled, The Surrendered Soul: Aligning the Five Parts of Your Soul with the Will of God.
Dr. Dee is a co-author with other diversity professionals on “A National Long-term Outcomes Evaluation of U.S. Premedical Postbaccalaureate Programs Designed to Promote Health Care Access and Workforce Diversity” published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. This is a peer-reviewed publication published by the John Hopkins University Press.
Most recently, Dr. Dee authored one academic book chapter in Campus Diversity Triumphs: Valleys of Hope Volume 20 entitled “Intercultural consciousness: A Premedical Teaching Methodology” published by Emerald Publishing. Three additional book chapters, for which Dr. Matthews is a co-author, were published in November 2018 by Rowman and Littlefield. She is inspired and committed to paving the way for many to grow spiritually and professionally. Because of this, many lives will unquestionably be impacted in the most positive way, by and through Dr. Matthews.

Dr. De'Andrea Matthews accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.

Claire Aldin Publications

president, book strategist



A love for books was instilled in Kate from an early age through family read-along in the summers and advanced English classes in school. In 2012 she graduated from the University of California Davis with honors in English and Psychology. 


While at UC Davis Kate wrote a weekly column for the University’s newspaper, The Aggie, and a syndicated article sharing her firsthand account about the student protests of on-campus police brutality in 2011. She got her first taste of publishing as a marketing and copyediting intern at Reaktion Books, a non-fiction publisher in London, England. 


Though she always expected she’d use her degree to become a novelist, she instead gravitated towards book design since it combined her passion for literature, creativity, and technology.

She finally accepted the position of Creative Director at Calling Card Books, a hybrid publisher of non-fiction and Z Girls Press, the company’s fiction imprint. Both are dedicated to helping authors create books that inspire, enlighten, and delight readers. She loves working with her mother and business partner to help authors' great ideas become enjoyable, impactful books.


In that capacity, Kate has contributed to manuscript vetting, editing, interior design, and cover design for approximately a dozen books, half of which were published by Calling Card Books and Z Girls Press.  She has also provided a number of authors with social media graphics and branded author websites.


Kate knows her story in publishing has many chapters to come. IBPA has been a strong and well-used resource in her publishing journey. She’s an avid traveler, cat-enthusiast, and the creator of a Jane Austen themed coloring book.

Kate Zarrella accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.

Calling Card Books & Z Girls Press

creative director



Mark D. Diehl writes novels about power dynamics and the way people and organizations influence each other. He believes that obedience and conformity are becoming humanity's most important survival skills, and that we are thus evolving into a corporate species. 

Diehl has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been stranded in Hong Kong. 

After spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Mark D. Diehl accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of the Independent Publishers of New England.

Fencetree Productions

author, publisher



After more than 30 years as a journalist and public relations professional, Eve Gumpel started Good Writing Matters in 2011 to use her skills on behalf of businesses and book authors.

Since starting her business, Eve has edited books in various genres, both fiction and nonfiction; written or revised a number of websites; and created press releases, bios and blogs, along with editing everything from blogs and newsletters to white papers and employee handbooks. 

Eve is a founding partner of Women Lead Publishing, a hybrid publisher with a mission to provide a platform and a voice for women who want to share their expertise, passion, thoughts, and wisdom via published books. 


Eve is also a certified ghostwriter, part of the team at Wambtac Ghostwriters, an organization dedicated to elevating and professionalizing the art of ghostwriting.


She is member of Publishers & Writers Orange County as well as the California Writers Club of Long Beach. Both organizations are aimed at helping independent publishers and authors understand the many facets of the industry and become successful, published authors.


Eve looks forward to her time at Publishing University so she can learn more about the book publishing process and become a better resource for her clients.

Eve Gumpel Feye accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of Publishers & Writers of San Diego Orange Country.

Good Writing Matters


Women Lead Publishing

founding partner



Christine Mapondera-Talley is the author of Makanaka’s World, a picture book series designed to teach young children about world cultures, geography, and languages in a fun and engaging way. Christine was born in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, and now resides in Chicago with her husband and two children. Growing up bilingual gives Christine a unique perspective to help children learn about the globe.

Her writing was initially inspired by her daughter, as she wrote stories for her in Shona, her native language. Thanks to a little nudge from her husband, today Christine write stories that directly address the need for more diverse books. She’s driven to write books for children that elevate and celebrate the diversity of Africa and African lives in fiction and non-fiction stories.

Through her small press Global Kid House, Christine hopes publish children books alongside authors and illustrators who share her passion for Africa. 

Connect with her online at christinemapondera.com.

Christine Mapondera-Talley accepts an at-large scholarship to IBPA Publishing University.

Global Kid House




Christine L. Villa (www.christinevilla.com) is the founder of Purple Cotton Candy Arts. What started out as a small business to explore her creativity in the field of arts and crafts, later expanded into self-publishing her children’s picture books. As a graduate of one of the courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature, “Writing for Children and Teenagers (2010),” she has been inspired to write for children and pursue her dream of publishing. Christine has published eight children’s book titles since 2014, one of which won first place in the 2018 edition of the Northern California Publishers and Authors (NCPA) Book Award Competition.


If she is not busy attending NCPA meetings and speaker presentations, she is immersed in her duties as social media director, webmaster, and photographer of the group. Recently, Purple Cotton Candy Arts started offering publishing services to other aspiring children’s authors and publishers, so her days are also filled with tasks such as editing, collaborating with illustrators, and creating eye-catching book trailers. 


Aside from being a recognized children’s writer, Christine is also a gifted poet. Her passion for haiku and tanka writing has resulted in the publication of her work in some of the most renowned online and print journals worldwide, has garnered her a few awards, and has seen her bring out her debut full-length collection of Japanese short-form poetry entitled The Bluebird’s Cry. She is the founding editor of Frameless Sky—the very first DVD haiku and tanka video journal that is a collaboration of art, poetry, and music. In early 2019, she is set to launch a haiku book by another author under her own imprint, Velvet Dusk Publishing.

Christine is looking forward to attending the IBPA Publishing University in order to network with others who are also learning the ropes of the publishing business. She is grateful for the opportunity to personally get her questions answered by experts and to learn valuable tips on developing concrete marketing plans.

Christine Villa accepts the IBPA Publishing University Scholarship on behalf of Northern California Publishers & Authors.

Purple Cotton Candy Arts