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eCommPublishing Kit Curriculum Guide

Instructor Introduction

An eCommPublishing project is not for the faint of heart. You will have to work very hard to complete it successfully and so will your students. There will be hiccups along the way and maybe even one or two moments when you get in your car at the end of the day and scream at the top of your lungs. But Genium Group Inc. promises you this. If you and your students stick with it and complete the project roadmap we’ve laid out using the tools and resources we’ve provided, it will be one of the most rewarding and beneficial business education experiences of your lifetimes.

In this project, you convert your classroom into a real-world publishing company and your students actually become employees of that business. The mission of your company will be to publish and sell one book. With the cooperation of your English department, some of the most talented student writers in your school will do the writing for this book. These students will be challenged to write stories that everyone in your community will want to read. Then it will be up to your class to convince your market that these young authors have succeeded.

If your students are able to accomplish this mission successfully, you could generate thousands of dollars worth of profits and also significantly enhance the image of both your school’s students and academic programs within your community. But even if your company falls short of its sales goal, the increased level of student engagement inside your classroom and the hands-on learning of real-job skills they experience will serve as incredibly worthwhile results for your efforts.

Here are the twelve steps involved in a successful eCommPublishing project. Let us know when you’re ready to begin and Genium will help you accomplish each and every one of them. E-mail with all your questions.

Step 1: Seek the necessary approvals needed to do the project at your high school

Teachers seeking approval for an eCommPublishing project in their school are provided with access to sample lesson plans and activity supplements from the project kit that verify you will have the professional step-by-step assistance needed to complete every step of your project successfully. You’ll also be able to use the eCommPublishing Demonstration School’s Web site to show decision makers at your school how your students will use the Web to market the book they publish. In the list of resources below you’ll also find links to testimonials from teachers and students who have used these same resources, a sample of a “request for project approval” presentation and the answers you need to fully respond to the “How much will this cost?” type questions.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Step 2: Get the stories for your book written

Secure the assistance and cooperation of your school’s English Department (or individual English teachers) who can arrange to have students in your school write the stories for your book. They have several options for doing so. They can hand pick the best student-writers in your school and ask them to participate as an extra credit project. They can assign the writing of the stories to a selected class and then select the best of those for the book. There’s also the option of having every student in the school write stories and then conducting some sort of judging or review process to determine which should be published. One very attractive option to also consider is the Young Writers Program sponsored by National Novel Writing Month. Over 600 schools around the country are enrolled in this program, which provides excellent curriculum tools and resources for motivating students to write their own novels and short stories. The eCommPublishing Kit also includes a sample English Department pitch you can use as a model, when preparing your own appeal to your school’s English staff.

If you can’t secure the English Department’s official cooperation, your class can recruit its own student writers. You can offer to pay prospective student authors an affordable royalty based on actual sales of your Book and emphasize that they will be able to use the authoring experience on college applications and job resumes they complete in the future. If your class recruits the writers, make sure you provide them with guidelines they will need to follow when writing their stories. See the eCommPublishing supplement Writing Guidelines.

Still another option is to invite all members of your community to submit stories and then have a panel of people select those that would be best for the book. See the eCommPublishing project supplement A Call for Authors Press Release.

Resources available to help you complete this step:
  • Seeking Cooperation of Your School’s English Department – customize this sample presentation and use it to convince your school’s English teachers to get on board.
  • A Call for Authors Press Release – Can’t get your English department to cooperate? No problem, just find your own writers. This sample press release is the model you need to follow to do just that. (This document to be available 09-01-09)
  • Sample Writing & Submission Guidelines – Before they can agree to do the writing, you’ll need to tell your writers what you want written. Use this sample a reference when coming up with submission guidelines for your own project
  • Rug City Press demonstration Web site – use this sample Web site to give decision makers a crystal clear idea of what your eCommPublishing project and Web site will be all about.
  • National Novel Writing Month Young Writer’s Program Web Site– a wonderful collection of resources currently being used by over 600 US schools to motivate their students to write more.

Step 3: Do a case history study of how books are published in the real world

In the first formal lesson presented to your class during your eCommPublishing project, you’ll introduce your students to two popular business models in use by today’s publishing industry. You’ll find and visit the Web sites of real-world publishers and conduct a condensed case-history study of how books for niche markets are actually being sold. The goal in Step 3 is to get students to see and understand some of the marketing and Web site concepts niche publishers and authors use to generate reader interest in a book and increase its sales.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Lesson Plan for Step 3 - Market Research-Case Study
  • Case Study Checklist (Instructor Version)
  • Case Study Checklist (Student Version)

Step 4: Describe the eCommPublishing project to your students

In this step, you introduce your students to the particulars of the project they will be involved with, describing the book they will be selling and you taking them on a tour of the eCommPublishing demo Web site. After reviewing the contents of the book being published by the Rug City Press demonstration school, you will describe where the writing for your school’s own book is coming from and the writing guidelines being followed. Ideally, before your students complete their business plan (Step 7) they will be able to obtain enough information about the content of your school’s book to be able to complete the eCommPublishing Kit supplement: Book Description Questionnaire. In Step 4 you’ll also make sure your students understand that they will actually be forming and running their own real-world publishing business which they will operate from inside your classroom and they will be expected to produce and sell a book to a niche market using many of the same concepts and techniques they’ve just learned about in your case-history exercise.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Step 4 Lesson Plan - Product Research
  • Book Description Questionnaire (Instructor Version)
  • Book Description Questionnaire (Student Version)

Step 5: Brainstorm ways your student-run business can sell a student-written book

In this step you’ll teach your students brainstorming concepts and techniques and then conduct your own brainstorming session. Your goal will be to apply the same publishing and marketing techniques and strategies your students learned about during their case-history research at the Web sites of real-world publishers to your own student-run business.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Step 5 Lesson Plan - Brainstorming

Step 6: Form your in-class publishing company

In this step, you’ll organize your in-class publishing company and put its staff in place. Job positions that need to be filled include a company president and vice president as well as key positions in production, marketing and finance.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Step 6 Lesson Plan - Company Formation
  • Job Application Form
  • Management Team Worksheet
  • Marketing Department Worksheet
  • Production Department Worksheet
  • Finance Department Worksheet
  • Working in Teams Tutorial

Step 7: Create a Business Plan

After completing a lesson in which they learn what a Business Plan is and why it is important, your students will create a business plan for their own in-class publishing business. You’ll use the eCommPublishing Business Plan template as a guide and make use of the information and knowledge compiled during the project’s Case-Study and Brainstorming Steps.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Step 7 Lesson Plan - Business Plan

Step 8: Finalize Marketing Plan, Production Plan, and Budget

In this step, your entire class gets a lesson on market planning and then the students break up into their departmental groups where they respectively formalize a marketing strategy, production plan, and budget per the objectives of the business plan. The kit provides supplements for all three activities.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Step 8 Lesson Plan - Marketing Plan
  • Marketing Plan Template (Instructor Version)
  • Marketing Plan Template (Student Version)
  • Production Plan Checklist
  • Budgeting & Cash Flow
  • Budgeting & Cash Flow Calculator

Step 9: Launch your company’s Web Site development effort

In this step, you will introduce your students to the Web site builder tools they will use to create the Web site for your publishing company and show them how the tools work. Together you will plan and set up the initial look and page structure of the Web site that will serve as the one of the primary components of the marketing strategy for your Company’s book.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Step 9 Lesson Plan - Create Your Web site
  • Web Site Content Plan Template (Instructor Version)
  • Web Site Content Plan Template (Student Version)
  • Web Site Wizard Tutorials

Step 10: Implement Marketing Plan and Production Plan

In this step your students put their business plan in action performing all the specific tasks necessary to produce the finished book and achieve the level of sales and profits they’ve projected.

Resources available to help you complete this step:

Step 11: Monitor Your Company’s Performance

In this ongoing step, your class measures the progress of your business versus the goals established in the business plan. When necessary, you implement changes in your company’s marketing and production plans and at your Web site to solve unexpected problems, take advantage of unexpected opportunities and to maintain desired profitability of your business.

Resources available to help you complete this step:
  • Web Site Performance Log
  • Project Milestones Tracker

Step 12: Report Your Company’s Final Results

Did your students sell as many copies of the book as they hoped to sell? Why or why not? Were your company’s expenses higher, lower or exactly what your students anticipated they would be? Did your business make as much profit as you anticipated it would? Did your Web site get as many visits as you forecasted? All these questions are answered in your company’s final report.

Resources available to help you complete this step:
  • Project Final Report Template
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