There are two important things I want to tell you today.  This post may take a few minutes to read, but I promise it will be worth it.


First, this:  You know the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”, right?  Well, we certainly do.


And, whatever your feelings about events may be, there’s one thing we know.  In uncertain times, it’s children and teens who often feel things the most.  They don’t have an understanding of the complexities of the world, and they don’t have the life experience to put things in their proper perspective.


If the world seems a bit scary and uncertain to grownups, imagine how young people are feeling.  They need to know that kindness, common purpose and love are still the fuels that drives humanity, and that, together, we’ll make our way through whatever happens.


They need people who can tell them that, and do it in ways that are engaging, entertaining and powerful. They need children’s writers.


They need you.


We’ll have more to say on this subject soon, but I wanted to share this today, because a lot you need to hear it.  And I needed to express it.


So get to work.  Your insight, your compassion and your talents are needed. Right now.



Which leads me to my second point.  It’s about *how* to put your talents to work.


You’ve probably heard us talk about Picture Book Blueprint and our upcoming Chapter Book Blueprint. They’re the first of what will be an extensive library of online tools/courses to help you learn to create a great manuscript in whatever genre you want.


We created them because we know that so many of you are truly devoted to the idea of writing great books for kids and teens, but you’re confused, intimidated and overwhelmed.  The process seems impenetrable.



You want to change the world with your words, but you just don’t know where to start.



So let me take just a moment to explain the Blueprint concept we created, because it can show you a clear path to move past all the frustration and go directly to being an author.  It’s the answer to help ease your mind, allow you to relax and get right into the joyous process of writing your book and connecting with the young people who need you.


Here’s the deal…


After 27 years, here’s what we’ve come to know about writing:  Learning to write can seem like a long, hard slog.  You just want to write, but it’s like there’s a mountain in the way. It represents the things you don’t know, and the experience you don’t have.


There’s no clear path. Just tons of info.  Courses, blog posts, articles, conferences, advice of varying quality from thousands of sources.


Everyone tells you “what” to do, but hardly anyone tells you “how” to do it.  As a result, you probably have no clear idea what to do next.



And, you’re short on time and money.  You don’t have the resources to buy every expensive course, get a Masters Degree or fly around the country attending conferences.  And your hectic life doesn’t give you enough time to pore through all those “how to” books and courses.


The Blueprint concept changes everything.  A Writing Blueprint isn’t just another course.  It’s actually a writing system that you’ll use again and again.


It’s built on these foundations:


1.   Writing Blueprints break every step of the writing process into easy-to-manage pieces.


2.  They offer expert video guidance every step of the way.


3.  Each step includes worksheets that build on one another, leading to a finished manuscript.


4.  The way the worksheets are created assures that the “DNA” of the best books of the particular genre are built into your manuscript.


5. Each Blueprint includes a step-by-step self-critique and revision system, with expert guidance.


6. When you’re done, you’ll have a finished, polished manuscript, ready to be submitted!



Here’s the old way of learning how to write a book in a particular genre:


  • Spend months sifting through information
  • Try to figure it out yourself
  • Spend tons of money on courses, conferences and books
  • Pay for expensive critiques
  • Use trial and error while you collect rejection slips and get discouraged


Here’s the Blueprint way


  • Write your manuscript while you learn!
  • Get step-by-step instruction from world-class teachers
  • Incorporate the DNA of the greatest books directly into your manuscript
  • Revise like a pro with video guidance from top critiquers
  • Effortlessly create a polished manuscript, ready to submit
  • Includes lifetime access – Use it again and again, for each new project


Picture Book Blueprint is already transforming the lives of writers around the world (you can see it here


Next Wednesday, we release Chapter Book Blueprint and we’ll be inviting you to join us and actually use the Blueprint in real time to begin your own chapter book.  (Save the date, the live launch webinar is Wednesday, November 16 at 5 PM Pacific.  More details to come soon!)  If you’re interested in writing chapter books and haven’t already checked out our free webinar called “The Magic of Chapter Books”, visit


We’re currently developing Writing Blueprints for YA/Middle Grade, Magazine Writing and Self Publishing, and more are on their way.


We believe that the Writing Blueprint concept will be the key to get writers out of their own heads and onto the page.  And then, into the hands of the children and young adults who so greatly need your work.


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30 Years of Children’s Writing Wisdom in One Place – and It’s Yours Free!


✏  Word Counts & Age Groups for Every Kidlit Category

✏  FAQs, Glossaries and Reading Lists

✏  Category-specific Tips, from Picture Books Through Young Adult Novels

✏  5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Manuscript

✏  Writing For Magazines …and more!


It’s our gift to you as part of our 30th Anniversary celebration!



This is a gift from the editors of Children’s Book Insider, and there’s no cost or obligation of any kind.

We will never spam you or share your personal information with anyone.  Promise!


    1. Avatar
      Jonathan Gunson
      November 10th

      I can sum up the “Picture Book Blueprint” in just one word: AWESOME!
      I thought I knew it all, and held off buying for a couple of years. But I’ve taken the leap, and now the scales have fallen from my eyes. I’m about 70% of the way through, going steadily in bits, and my constant reaction is “Oh I see, THAT’S how it’s done!”
      Laura and Jon, thank you for this course, it’s a life saver – remarkably clear and easy to follow, but with a few harsh home truths to learn. Thank God for your vast experience Laura, you’ve distilled everything you know into this, yet kept it accessible and understandable. I now know exactly what to do, and how to do it

      • Avatar
        Laura Backes
        November 11th

        Jonathan, thanks so much for your kind words about Picture Book Blueprint! I’m delighted that you’re learning so much and seeing your writing take shape before your eyes. Keep in touch and let us know how your manuscript turns out. And thanks for your dedication to creating the best books you can for our children!

    2. Avatar
      Nick Berry
      November 11th

      This is a great programme. Several authors will be writing across categories e.g. Picturebooks and chapter books. I hope that you will find a pricing structure that enables people who have already invested in one blueprint course to access another relatively cheaply.

      • Avatar
        Jon Bard
        November 11th

        Hi Nick. The launch price (which will be available for a few days starting next Wednesday) is the lowest price available for anyone, ever. After that, when the price goes to its normal level, we will be creating a discount code for previous Blueprint buyers so they never have to pay full price. It won’t quite be as cheap as the launch price, but pretty close ($20 more). Also, buying in the launch period gets you the fast action bonus, which is a secret, but is really, really cool. 🙂

        Also, you’ll be happy to hear that all the Blueprints will be kept on the same site, so you’ll jsut need one login to access any Blueprint you purchase.

    3. Avatar
      Diane Garratt
      November 11th

      Picture Book Blueprint is a grand plan and I am truly grateful for it and the extensive knowledge that you are both willing to share with those of us less gifted. And thanks, too, for your encouragement.

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