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eCommPublishing Kit Curriculum Guide

Step 5 Supplement

Brainstorming Session Checklist (Instructor Version)

Brainstorming Session

(Note to student: You will need to have access to the Case Study Checklists and Product Description Questionnaires completed in earlier steps of your eCommPublishing project)

(Note to teacher: The Student Version of this document does not include any of the information that appears in italics, below. Make sure you have an Internet connection available so you can reference Web sites and search engines for information and statistics you might need during your brainstorming session. Your students should also have access to their completed Case Study Checklists and Product Description Questionnaires during the brainstorming session)

What should the title of our Book be?

Take five minutes to brainstorm possible titles for your book. You’ll find a short article that describes a strategy for coming up with a great book title at
http://www.articlealley.com/article_28586_50.html

Also consider conducting a school-wide contest to come up with a title for the book. Such a contest not only increases awareness of the fact that the book is coming but it also gives your most important market the opportunity to participate in the development of that product.

What should the name of our student-run publishing company be?

Take five minutes to brainstorm a name for your business

Define our market. What type of people would be interested in buying this book? How many of them are there and where are they located?

Make sure you include the following. Be prepared by checking on the numbers of students enrolled in the schools listed, the number of staff and the total population of your school district/community

  • Students in our school

  • The parents of students in our school

  • Staff in our school

  • All other residents of our community/school district

  • Former residents of our community

How do the above groups get the information they use to make book-purchasing decisions?

  • They hear about books from their friends

  • They go online and search for it

  • They read reviews of books in the paper and online

  • They watch TV shows and listen to radio programs that include interviews with authors of books

  • They browse books for sale at retail locations where books are sold

  • They see advertisements for books

  • Mention how TV talk-show celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, and Jon Stewart are responsible for the sale of millions of copies of books just by doing interviews with authors.

How can our Company make sure all our fellow students and all the staff here at the high school know about this book?

Start this question off by talking a little about “creating a buzz”for a product. Your students text, chat, and browse often enough to know this phrase and it will help them understand exactly what needs to be done to get their friends talking about this book

  • We will create a commercial for the book and include it on our school announcements.

  • We will get the authors of the book interviewed during our school news broadcasts

  • We will do posters promoting the book and hang them all around the school

  • We will have a contest to see which student can design the best front cover for the book and we will promote the contest and the winning cover design

  • We will issue a press release describing the book project and send it to the school newspaper, the school Web site, and heads of all the PTAs and booster clubs in our school district

  • We will create a Web site just to promote the book

  • We will put a special display of the book in our school’s library and include order forms as part of the display

  • We will sell copies of the book in our school store

  • We will try and convince English teachers in our school to include reading the book as part of a student assignment

  • We will search for and make deals with other groups in our school to have them sell copies of the book at their events and activities in return for a share of the proceeds.

  • We will each text or e-mail at least ten of our friends about this book and ask them in-turn to text or e-mail ten more of their own.

How can our Company make sure all residents in our community know about this book?

  • We will issue a press release to all local media and any organizations that publish public service or book announcements in newsletters or bulletins to their members. Make sure your class considers some non-traditional media opportunities such as church bulletins, senior citizen newsletters, chamber of commerce newsletter and don’t forget the community bulletins sections of the Web sites of both your municipal and county governments.

  • We will book the authors and the President of our student-run company for interviews on talk radio shows, interviews by the local newspaper,

  • We will book the authors for book-signings and readings at the library, Chamber of Commerce meetings, Rotary meetings.

  • We will make arrangements to have copies of the book sold at retail businesses throughout our community.

  • Our Company’s Web site will provide members of our community with a convenient source of information about the book and how to purchase it

  • We will provide members of the local media with advance copies of the book so they can do reviews for their readers and/or listeners.

  • We will place posters promoting the book throughout our community

  • We will ask the local library to do a special display for the book that includes order forms and how-to-order information

  • We will ask readers of the book to write letters to the editor and call in on radio talk shows to endorse the book.

  • Place ads for the books in local newspaper and local shoppers guides.

Based on the size of our market, the content of the book, and the ideas we’re considering for promoting it, how many copies of the book do you think we would sell if we sold each copy for:
  • $5 or less
  • $10 to $15
  • Over $15

Cash flow is a challenge for our company. We are going to have expenses that need to be paid before we have the actual books to sell. How can we pay for these early expenses?

  • Give people the opportunity to purchase the book before it is available at a discounted pre-publication price

  • Sell ad space at our Company’s Web site to area businesses and organizations in our community that want to sponsor this project

  • Sell ad space on the inside front, inside and outside rear covers of the book to area businesses and organizations in our community that want to sponsor this project

  • Barter for needed services using the ad space available at our Company’s Web site and the covers of the front and rear covers of our book.

List some of the groups and organizations involved in our school that might consider selling copies of this book on our behalf or as a fundraiser for their organization.

Suggest the Sr. Jr. Soph and Freshmen classes, the student council, DECA, FBLA, the School Store, booster clubs, PTA, Prom Committee and various school clubs.

List some of the activities at which copies of the book could be sold

Suggest events like the school play, musical performances, parent conference nights/open houses, PTA meetings, sporting events, during lunch period in the cafeteria

Do the authors of this book, students in your class or members of your school staff have personal relationships with any businesses, groups or organizations that represent opportunities to sell more copies of the book? Brainstorm these types of networking opportunities.

Give a few examples.

  • Suppose the father of one of the authors was a manager at the local WalMart store. This might signal an opportunity to get your book sold at the store.

  • Suppose the Mom of one the students in your class is the President of the Middle School PTA. This might signal an opportunity to have that organization sell the book to students and staff at that school as a fundraiser.

  • Suppose a teacher in your school is married to the Sales Manager of a local car dealer. This might signal an opportunity for the car dealer to conduct a special promotion by offering a free copy of your book to anyone who comes in for a test dive.

Do any of the stories in the book provide potential promotional tie-in opportunities within the storylines?

Use the “Miracle at Amsterdam Muny” as an example. The story is about a round of golf at the golf course. This could represent an opportunity to have the pro shop at the course offer copies of the book for sale alongside a table-top sign that reads ‘Includes the hot new story “Miracle at Amsterdam Muny’”

What are some of the reasons why people might not purchase this book?

Responses the teacher should be looking for include:

  • They think its just another school fundraiser instead of a serious attempt at publishing a book of quality stories about our community

  • They think the book is too expensive

  • They don’t like to read books

  • They don’t find out the book exists

Take each reason you came up with for possibly not buying the book and make sure one of your earlier brainstorming ideas will help your company avoid these obstacles to sales. If a solution has not yet been addressed, brainstorm one now.

Using the above reasons as our example, the one possible reason for not purchasing the book that we failed to address would be its cost. One of the things we can do to find out if the price of the book is a significant obstacle is conducting a special sale at a particular event or for a particular period of time and analyze the impact lowering the price has on sales.

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