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What does CBI mean to you?

For many years, when people asked us what we did for a living, we said "We publish a newsletter that teaches people how to write children's books and get them published."   And that was sufficient for most of our history.

Today, though, there's a heck of a lot more to CBI. We still have the newsletter, of course, but a great deal has been added:

  • The CBI Clubhouse and its community of Fightin' Bookworms
  • The CBI 1-2-3 System
  • Our panel of expert guides
  • Our many eBooks
  • Our private critique groups
  • Our new content focused on ebooks and app publishing
  • Our new content that helps writers promote themselves and their work
  • Our personalized coaching program
  • Our daily Children's Books Today roundup, our Twitter feed and on and on….


Soon we'll be adding webinars and lots more.  The emphasis is the same — help people achieve their dreams of writing children's books — but the scope is so much larger.

So here's our problem:  how would we best describe ourselves now?   It's important to know that, so we can better serve you and also grow our community.

Rather than guess at it, we thought we ask you, our loyal Fightin' Bookworms.  After all, it's your opinion that really matters most.


So here's the question:

When you think about CBI, and your place in our community, what one sentence best describes us?  To put it another way, What would you tell someone about us if they never heard of us, but you knew that we could help them?


If you'd like to share a list of words that best describe us, great.  If you want to be a bit creative and express verse (you guys are writers, after all!  :)) that would be awesome.   If you have a single sentence that expresses everything, fantastic.  How you say it is up to you — we just want to know what you think of us.

Your responses will help us plan for the future, and also help us better provide exactly what you need.

So have at it!  Help us solve our little "identity crisis" and let us know what we mean to you, the most important person in our world…..a Fightin' Bookworm!

Please use the comment section to share your thoughts.  (If you'd rather not make your thoughts public, you can e-mail us here.)

Thank you!


60 Responses to “What does CBI mean to you?”

  1. Diana Rogers

    Helping authors find their way to becoming published authors with experienced experts and informative fellow authors sharing in the writer's community.

  2. Alicia Rudnicki

    CBI is the single best online resource for children's writers who want to learn and connect with publishers. 

  3. Jean Grow

    The CBI and the Fightin Bookworms is my main contact with other writhers and learning about writing for children.  That is my sentence and to me it says alot.  You, Jon and Laura have done a fantastic job of giving writers all kinds of resourses for improving their writing.  Thank you.

  4. Mark Redmond

    Jon and Laura,
    You two are the life-line for us children's writers.  You are mentors who encourage and guide us in a multitude of areas.  Thank you for your hard work and your generous hearts.

  5. Terry Caszatt

    I like the effervescent quality of your approach; always so up, full of optimism, hope, glory… I really like that; it's never treacly or overly sentimental, just full of robust energy, backed by great content. I appreciate the way you guys scramble to stay up with current changes in publishing; you're not shy about the new stuff, but you pay homage to the older, more venerable publishing ventures. And I like the way you still bring in the small, the modest, even the eccentric end of the business. Small is not a bad word in your lexicon. And that leads me to my last observation, but perhaps the most important part of CBI for me. You have always managed to seem intimate, down-to-earth, a voice pitched perfectly to the lonely, hard-working writer. You never sound corporate, large, pompous, too zealous; you've managed a wonderful small road that winds by our houses, and you've brought the best goods along the way. I attribute that to your sincerity – a deeply honest attempt on your part to help one and all. 

  6. Ruth Wickham

    I confess that I don't feel part of the community, though I suspect that it is largely my fault and I hope it will gradually change. I am an Australian working in Malaysia as a 'training fellow' in the teacher training system, and my concern is for the little Malaysian kids who are supposed to learn English and read in English when there is so little suitable or available material here to make them feel the slightest bit inclined to do so. I am trying to encourage local teachers and trainers to produce materials, stories about these children themselves which they will be eager to read.
    I have started making a few little booklets with (imaginary) stories about local children, and they were very enthusiastically received and read. But I would like to make sure the stories are much better, and then maybe try publishing a collection. Along with time constraints (very busy, this is not my only responsibility) I feel cultural (and religious) limitations so I am treading carefully.
    I am not a published writer myself, though I have always written stuff for my parents and siblings and then children and grandchildren.
    I LOVE THE SITE. I am learning so much, and hope that in the next year or two I can hone my skills and get to the publishing stage – that should also be very encouraging for my Malaysian colleagues. As I am learning I feel more empowered to teach them how to write, knowing that it's not just how I would do it, there is more structure to my ideas.
    I tell my colleagues about CBI, but I know that they never pay for anything on the Internet. I don't give them materials from the site, but I encourage them to go and look. I tell them this is where I am learning.

    For me it is a brilliant resource. When I finish this project in Malaysia, I hope I can settle down with a bit more time on my hands and rummage around in here more deeply and get my stories out there.
    Being tapped in to CBI gives me confidence in my teaching and training. I know I can come here and check that I am on the right track. And I feel that when I am a little further along I can come here and find out what I need to know about publishers.

  7. carolyn sands

    CBI, is a wonderful website.
    It has everything for an aspiring author's delight.
    If you like to write for children, you can go there and learn;
    Because the site offers courses  so every page your young readers will turn.
    in addition to teaching  you how to write a successful query letter,
    CBI provides a ton of ebooks  that will help your writing career get better and better.   

  8. Linda Hardie

    Inspiration. Education. Publication!

  9. Frances Leys

    What does CBI mean to me?
    So glad you wanted to ask
    It reminds me that I'm not on my own
    And helps motivate me for the task
    Fran Leys

  10. Shai Stephenson

    I have recommended the site to lots of people.  The newsletter is invaluable, I consider all the web content, ebooks etc. to be icing on the cake.  

  11. Theresa Collins

    CBI Clubhouse is a huge asset rich with content for aspiring children's book writers. In the short time we have been here, we have learned far more than we ever expected to learn from one site. Jon and Laura have put together a great community that they are very much a part of and Laura's critiques are second to none.

  12. Cathy Strout

    CBI is a wealth of information and I always refer people to it when I find out they are interested in writing. I have always found a good selection of information for all aspects of writing presented in a variety of ways which makes it very interesting and helpful. The absolute best website for aspiring children's authors.

  13. Tracy Riva

    CBI is the place to go to get all the help and support you need to turn your book from a dream into a reality.

  14. Charles Suddeth

    CBI covers all the categories of writing children's books, which is important for me. Plus it has resources I can go to whenever I need them.

  15. Ron Seifer

    In one sentence;    CBI is a friendly informative and educational community.

  16. sandra stiles

    CBi is the first place I send anyone who expresses an interest in writing, whether they are a teacher or a student.  I want to send them to a quality site that truly cares about their members. 

  17. Jon Bard

    Wow…what a moving experience for us read through these. We tend to just keep our heads down and just work, so we don't always know if what we do is connecting and giving meaning to people. Thank you all for letting us know that it is. It's truly appreciated!

  18. Menaha

    Yes, the first place for the beginning writer. From cradle to grave (so to speak). Thank you.

  19. Romelle Guittap

    CBI is your one-stop shop for everything you need to learn about writing for children.  Plus, you get support from a wonderful writing community.  
    I'm fairly new to your community.  I just wished I had known about you sooner.  Lots of valuable resources in one place.  Thanks for doing such a wonderful job!

  20. jflorob

    CBI is to me first of all, a community.  This community's mission is to help and encourage  writers  to become excellent writers for children.

  21. Anne McGee

    In describing CBI, I would have to say that what has impressed and helped me the most, right from the beginning of my membership, has been the wealth of continuing information on how to write and understand the ever-changing world that encompasses being a children’s author. I am so impressed with the constant stream of podcasts, instructional videos, author interviews, and opportunities for members to not only interact with other CBI members, but to also have a platform where they can extol their own successes in writing. Keep up the good work CBI. I’m proud to be associated with your organization.

  22. Arti Sonthalia

    I was waiting for my car to turn up on a busy road when i saw a blind man being helped by a stranger to cross the road, i was touched.. THAT is what CBI is to me….
    I had been blind for years unable to decide what i wanted till i found CBI..
    THANKS a ton…

  23. Dena Byrne-Moses

    CBI is not only a community of knowledge, but a place to go when you need a push or words of encouragement that "you can do it,"  you can write and get your works publish and they tell you exactly how to do it.

  24. Janice Rollins

    I am a very busy middle school art teacher. "Running out of time" is the plague of our existence. For me, CBI give me opportunities at a glance. The newsletter, easily read,  is full of information, instruction and direction. Thanks a bunch! Janice Rollins

  25. louise

    CBI is a place writers  can come and learn from a community of writers about all aspects of writing. It is an up to date world wide reference manual, and support system. CBI format ( thanks to Jon and Laura) works because it is adaptable to each writer's schedule, and needs.

  26. Debi Hill

    CBI is an enthusiastic, personable, proactive, current, eclectic, interactive site (too many commas…?!) that works to create a sense of community among it's members while being helpful on many fronts.

  27. Kristine Wientge

    CBI is a place where writers can share triumphs, failures, tips and ideas. Its a place to learn, to be inspired and to be challenged. The atmosphere is encouraging, but pushes you to keep going, keep learning and keep writing. 

  28. Cyndie Sebourn

    CBI is a writer's safe haven where questions are welcome, where support is abundant, and where talents are nourished.

  29. Carolanne Roberts

    I'm a newbie and perhaps that's a good vantage point. Before finding CBI recently, I was wandering through the maze of the how-to-begin blues, bumping into myself at every turn (usually finding a confused look on my face!). I'd been questioning why I envisioned myself a children's author–I'm a journalist by trade–and, day to day, was either gung-ho or about to bail. So how do I view CBI? As a game-changer. It's like a hand-holding friend with answers and encouragement. It's a window to the success of others (which might translate into the same for me if I've got the stuff). It's a mentor, an advisor, a how-do, and an ultimate resource. I snuggle up with it as one does with a good book. Laura and Jon are favorite names in my Inbox. I see upcoming critique groups a way to communicate and be part of a community (which I need). And so it goes. This, remember, is the beginning. I am empowered and encouraged..and I will march on where I might've faltered and flaked out. I'm a is CBI. Can't wait to see what happens.

  30. Carol Coleman

    How can I describe what CBI means to me: empowerment, excitement, encouragement, engagement, and education.  CBI is a great stress reliever for me.  Instead of only focusing on my  xtremely stressful "job" I can now also work on my dream of becoming a writer.   It truly has changed my outlook on life and gives me something to look forward to each day.  Thank you Jon and Laura.

  31. Dave Millman

    Unbiased professional training and support, plus a supportive community of writers, all working together to get you published.

  32. Dorothy Bobst

    CBI- dedicated, supportive, professional. I asked a question a couple of days ago and the anwser came amazingly quickly. More than worth the cost of a Latte. Definitely connecting and serving a great need for writers. Me thinks we would be lost without ya! Thanks

  33. Colleen Sanders

    It was a dark and stormy night of the soul…
    Of mangled metaphors and unfinished tales;
    And my rejection folder was fearfully full,
    No contracts signed, no love, no sales…
    And I stood at the edge of the precipice,
    Where writers choose their path, their fate.
    “I’ll give up! I won’t try! I cannot do this!”
    “My work must surely be second-rate!”
    But along comes a smiling, bespectacled bookworm,
    With more than just cheer, he has plenty to say.
    And his opinion of me? His words are quite firm:
    “Don’t quit! Fight! Write better starting today!”
    And hope glimmers brightly as stars in the sky
    As I learn, as I listen, as my confidence grows.
    I feel heartily grateful to this squiggly guy,
    And maybe soon I’ll be published–who knows?

  34. Jon Bard

    Ha – I love it! :)

  35. Anna Getz

    I REALLY learn from your site without having to pay a fortune!! And—-you really care whether we learn. Thank you.

  36. Inspire

    CBI is a wellspring of information on every aspect of children’s writing.

  37. Elizabeth Westra

    CBI is the place to go for answers to your writing questions, for information on writing for children, for encouragement when things are slow, for educational help on writing for children. I’m not new to CBI, but I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t used their resources to the fullest. There is so much to help you in your journey to becoming the writer you want to be. I’ve barely scratched the surface.

  38. michael simpson

    CBI serves a parent role to aspiring authors of children’s books. They take budding or aspiring authors in and teach them the ways of the world in which the authors will live, preparing them for the next step forward in having a successful writing career.

  39. Terry Hueffed

    This is the most helpful site on the internet to help budding authors and published authors. You guys are the BEST!

  40. Ben Marshall

    I already earn a living as a full-time scriptwriter (soap and kids’ tv), but I’m working seven days a week to learn how to write fiction for YA’s. You’ve provided me with a crit group – a massive resource I value highly – and a number of educational videos and information sources that I also use and rate highly.

    On a personal level, what I’m doing is scary. I’m risking my soul and a potential future income by doing my damndest to write betterer, to think up and develop great stories, and above all learn – and CBI is part of my toolkit to do that.

    I work so hard, and I’m terrified I’m making a mistake pushing my writing career into published fiction, but CBI is there – across a few thousand kilometres of Pacific Ocean – holding out a hand and saying ‘it’s okay to fight, it’s okay to fear, it’s okay to struggle’. In the end – and I don’t apologise for how corny this sounds – it’s love that fuels good writing and good storytelling, and I’m feelin’ the love from CBI.

    Thank you,


  41. Kimberlee Murray

    Over the years I’ve subscribed to numerous newsletters, websites, podcasts, learn all I can about children’s book writing and the writing life in general, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the CBI Clubhouse that I finally found ONE place that had everything I was looking for. I used to get overwhelmed sorting through my various bookmarked web pages or get upset that I couldn’t remember where I saved that “to be remembered!” specific piece of writing advice. Now, I don’t need to organize and classify my way through hundreds of writing-related documents on my hard drive. I simply click onto the CBI Clubhouse and find training, support, expert advice, promotion tips a stellar newsletter and everything else an aspiring children’s writer needs in one place. One place! Thank you Jon and Laura and the CBI Clubhouse for saving my sanity!

  42. lauri fortino

    CBI is a one-stop, non-stop essential resource for aspiring children’s book authors!

  43. Marge

    CBI is a place where you can go and learn on your own time. You can take a beginner’s writing course, watch videos, and read the newsletter, and post questions that Jon will answer. It’s an interactive and at the same time can be an anonymous. The tutorials are full of great information. It has forums, where if you are a paid member, you can join a critique group. There are many other talented writers, who share their knowledge. Now they are going to add webinars. I can’t wait. There is so much available that I don’t think I have taken advantage of it all, yet. I can’t thank Jon and Laura enough for the wealth of knowledge that they provide for me and other writers.

  44. Natalia Fry

    CBI offers a wide range of writing and publishing resources including step by step instruction for writers/authors and inspiring writers/authors.

  45. drcreed

    Most writers’ sites try to impress you with how hard it’s going to be, how many others are competing for your readers’ attention, and (it follows) how you’ll never make it without their help.

    CBI just matter-of-factly says, “Hey, writers are doing this all the time. Why not you? Here’s how.”

  46. Sally Biggerstaff

    CBI is a multifaceted source for writers of children’s literature. Membership in CBI offers the writer information, instruction, encouragement, feedback, and a sense of belonging to a community dedicated to quality literature. Integrity, commitment, and respect for the writer are constants within the framework of CBI. At the same time, Jon and Laura have built a personal, interactive, and responsive place for writers to go for inspiration and confidence. In CBI, we writers have a compassionate source to learn from, reflect with, and develop the skills which allow us to reach beyond the dreams that first led us into the writer’s world.

  47. elizabeth mclaughlin

    CBI is a writer’s lifeline! Over the years, membership has grown steadily – but you, Jon and Laura, perform the near-impossible feat of making each member feel s/he’s a personal friend, that you have all the time in the world to answer their questions, and warm praise when our efforts meet with success.
    CBI, quite apart from the invaluable information and up-to-the-minute technology it offers, cuts through ‘the loneliness of the long-haul writer’; you feel very much part of it all, with an immediacy which is wonderful, especially for those of us who have no access to a local group.
    Maybe that sums it up best – the constant encouragement to keep at it, and never give up striving for publication.

  48. Jacqueline

    CBI is one stop shopping for kidlit writers but with one amazing twist…tons of FREE STUFF!

  49. Rosemary Moore

    CBI is a community of writers who receive expert guidance on every aspect of writing and publishing in a friendly, accessible format. Mentors inspire and give personal, practical advice to writers on the path to fulfilling their dreams.
    Since you are taking time to “re-view” your purpose and you are requesting feedback I hope you will consider a new logo and image, and even a different name. A creative genius named David Locke has helped several business owners, including members of my family, go through this process. David personally designs each logo as he comes to an understanding of your company and the image that best represents you. I am not on commission, just a highly satisfied customer. Check out his web site at
    A new name and business image will be more in synch with your updated approach of exploring new avenues for publishing and new styles of writing.

  50. joan glowacki

    CBI has been a great tool for me and keeps me in touch with the latest in children’s literature as well as the latest tech tools, too. I am enjoying the Fightin Book Forum and I truly appreciate real people reading and critiquing my own work. CBI has kept me motivated to continue writing even after many rejection letters and emails. I appreciate all the helpful links that can help me with writing questions and techniques. I look forward each month to its newsletter and all of its helpful information. A big thanks goes out to Jon and Laura and all those wonderful people working at CBI who love children’s literature as much as I do.

  51. Elizabeth Varadan

    I’m a little late with this, but when I think of CBI Clubhouse, I think of a writing site that offers a multiplicity of services and information for children’s writers of any level. I love the many workshops, the newsletter, the experts, the modules. Wonderful site!

  52. Alex Hawkins

    I’m sorry this took longer than it should have. I think/believe that the CBI will be a helpful tool/s in getting a children’s book writer on the right road to publication.

  53. Brian Rock

    CBI is a telescope that brings the alien landscape of children’s publishing into focus.

  54. Barbara Holland

    I’m a senior adult who has dabbled in writing my entire life. With a career of teaching elementary school children over three decades, four children, several grandchildren, and more interests than I have time to pursue, I haven’t actually written much of substance, other than my life story, which grew into a family history. In prep for retirement, I took writing and photography courses and attended several workshops, but again, I’ve stayed too busy ‘doing life’ than sitting down to write. Even this week, I’ll be doing volunteer work in a local school as the children go back to school. Still, CBI encourages and motivates me to continue ‘dabbling’. I eagerly read each issue, reread from the archives, and then mail out another article or story. I recently sold a non-fiction piece to a children’s magazine and have several pieces awaiting judgment in various slush piles. I’ve found so many of Laura’s articles helpful. When I learn of someone’s interest in writing, I refer them to your website. Thanks for sharing with us. You are the best writer’s website I’ve found. I’m an ICL grad and also benefit from their work. I still hope to do more with what I keep learning… if I can just be still long enough to write but you do continue to inspire me to want to get more into print. My mother lived 95 years and kept her good mind, and I have sisters 93 and 88 still going strong, as well as other sisters still active, so I hope I’ll have several more years that maybe I’ll get more writing done. CBI keeps giving me ideas. So, thank you!

  55. Barbara Patterson

    The internet is a wonderful thing.  The first time I started writing was 25 years ago (before kids) and everything went through snail mail.  By the time I got a response/critique  for a story back to me  my train of thought and story idea was gone.

    It is great that everything is at my fingertips in the CBI website.  A course to refresh my skills, a person to critique stories, and get immediate feedback so that the train of thought is not lost.

    Thank you so much.

  56. vera

    Very encouraging and inspirational. Comes with a side order of sensational.

    A  childrens garden of writting tools for all of us character fools.

  57. Elaine D'Alessandro

    I just joined CBI and I am so impressed with the quality of resources and your optimism and upbeat tone in each email. I also value Laura’s Closer Look professional critiques. The price is right and the feedback is invaluable. You both know the market so well. You are our eyes and ears to the world of publishers/agents/editors. And certainly our guardian angels as we create our stories one sentence at a time.

  58. mozhgan moshtagh

    I’m an author who writes for children for years say that writing for children’s daily renewal and cleansing.
    mozhgan moshtagh

  59. Bob

    I am new to writing children’s books, and trying to get published.
    So far I am seeing the easy part is writing the stories.
    I have to admit when I started searching for a publisher I thought it would be an easy task.
    As soon as I took off my rose colored glasses, I found that there are pitfalls everywhere, and the sad part is that there are so many ways to get ripped off that it’s not really funny.
    I have narrowly avoided getting involved with two publishers that I am sure everyone has heard of, and in a fit of frustration, began my search again for a publisher.
    That was when I stumbled across CBI. (It was actually last night.)
    So I am new here and I am still trying to digest some of the information.
    I am hopeful that CBI will be the catalyst that can get me going. :-)

  60. try here

    Thank you for every other informative blog. Where else could I am getting that type of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a mission that I’m just now running on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.

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