October 5, 2012

QR Codes – Where Have You Been All My Life?


I attended a local writers guild meeting last week. Author, Paty Jager gave a great talk on promotion. Some things I knew and already do, some things I knew and choose not to do, but there was one thing I never even thought to do. I’m still scratching my head and wondering, “Why didn’t I know about this sooner? How did I miss this information before?”

QR Codes are two dimensional barcodes that act like hyperlinks when scanned with the proper app on a cell phone. The code can take your browser directly to a website, a social media page, a google map. You can use it for many different reasons.  But for this blog post purposes, I’m going to focus on writing.

When my third middle grade novel was published, I had new bookmarks printed that included the cover of each book and a blurb. Across the bottom of the bookmark is my website. Then I learned about QR codes. DOH! I created a code to take people directly to the middle grade page on my website, which offers downloads and the buy links for my middle grade books. I printed the code on some labels and I added it to the bookmarks so that when I hand them out in classrooms or paper the town with them, people can scan the code and jump directly to the information that will let them learn more about all of my middle grade books, plus buy them.  As I send one of my books for review, not only do I tuck a bookmark inside, I add the code to the end of that book. That way, after they enjoy that book, they can learn how to get their hands on my other books quickly.

Next year when my young adult novel is released, I can have a separate code that takes readers directly to the young adult page on my website. I plan to design a double-sided bookmark, middle grade on one side, young adult on the other. I can add a code for my website to my business cards. 

The goal is, whenever you are out in public, you should be able to hand something to people that they can scan and learn more about you/your work on their phones.

I’m really excited about this. I want to add QR codes to everything! I want a t-shirt so that people can scan me as I walk past. I’m guessing that my QR code crush will wear off eventually, but for now the possibilities seem so limitless.

I’m using the QR code generator: http://www.quikqr.com/?p=qr-code-home I downloaded a barcode/QR code scanner app for Android onto my phone. Both the scanner and the generator are free.

It’s simple, even for tech-ignorant users. Copy the url for the site you want to create a QR code for. I’ve decided I want to create one for my facebook fan page so EVERYBODY can like me. https://www.facebook.com/KaiStrandAuthor. Paste the url into the QR code generator site and click on the ‘generate code’ button and voila:


Go ahead, get your smart phone, I'll wait... Now scan the code.  While you're there, be sure to like me. Then scan the code on the cover of my Facebook page. SO cool! Why did I not know about this before? Please let me know if this is your introduction to how you can incorporate QR codes in your writing so that I can feel better about not using them sooner.

Happy weekend!

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