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QR Codes – A Newbies Quick Take

Warning! Lesson Time!

Put your thinking caps on. This will only hurt a little. 🙂 

Technology wins another round! LOL

Here’s hoping I’m not the only one behind the times with all this new technology popping up. How many of you know what a QR code is? (I’m imagining the song from Jeopardy here as I wait. LOL)

QR Codes, or Quick Read Codes, are similar to the barcodes used by retailers for inventory and pricing. I’m pretty sure everyone has seen those on the products at the store. Long rectangular boxes filled with a bunch of lines and numbers that make no sense to the human eye.

But the QR Code is so much cooler.  This is a smaller square box that seems to be popping up on just about everything I pick up now. Not on products so much, but on paper documents like magazines, coupons in the Sunday newspaper, even books. So what the heck are they? These tiny squares are links that contain so much information, I find it mind boggling. 

  • QR codes (Microsoft Tags, Datamatix, etc.) are two-dimensional codes that can be generated free and easily to display for anyone to scan with a smart phone.
  • They enable easy connections between physical objects and the digital world. (Wow!)
  • By scanning a QR code with a mobile phone a person can link to a URL, bookmark, text, phone number, SMS or a vCard (contact)

I tried the one from Google called Goo.gl.com.   But there’s a great list of others here on this blog.  http://2d-code.co.uk/qr-code-generators

As I said, I’m behind and still in the learning process, so I need to do a bit more research on which one will work best for me. The one I made using Google’s version directs people to my book on Amazon so they can add it to their wish list.

Scan with a smart phone and bingo, your there. No trying to type in the url using those ity bity phone buttons.

 Or how about this one from Likify.net to help people find you on Facebook.

 Sorry, you’ll have to have a smartphone to actually see the results from these little squares. First step is downloading a free QR reader app to your phone and then you’re set to go.

The big picture is this. Anyone doing business today can make these free and easily and then put them on anything. Marketing for a generation that is never without their cell phones.  Unbelievable! Quick, easy and convenient. Doesn’t get any better. Business cards, post cards, flyers, T-shirts anything you can print up and get in the hands of your readers or potential readers/customers is prime QR code space.

Give them a free short story or product after purchasing a novel or another product. Have a print copy of your book? How cool would it be to place a QR code at the back with your bio so when the reader is finished they can immediately find your next book online and purchase it? Bingo your new release is on its way and all they needed was their cell phone. How about a link to enter a contest on your blog or website? Or a coupon for something else. Online marketing and social media is great if you’re sitting at your computer.  But what about all those people sitting in the doctor’s office, carpool lines or public transportation? This opens up all kinds of new doors to reach them.

I leave post cards with my book covers, website, blog and facebook fanpage in hotel rooms when we travel. The next person who comes along may not have a computer with them to look up the information if they wanted to, but odds are really great they’ll have that smartphone. 🙂  The possibilities are endless. Don’t have a novel out yet, how about one to direct them to your blog or website or another place you visit often. What a great new way to interact with others on the go.

This one is for the ENLR blog ladies.  🙂

Reading about this new technology has my creative juices flowing in so many directions I can barely keep up. Just another way to procrastinate for me. But at least this little venture will be so beneficial in the long run.  🙂

 How many of you use these codes already? Have I peeked your interest? Would love to hear your take on this!


23 Responses

  1. Knowing you, your next book will feature a serial killer using these to post his trophies online…:) Hmmmmm…. hey, that’s not a bad idea!..:)

    • LOL Will! Oh, wow, that is a cool idea! In a weird kinda sick way. LOL 🙂 But using it to give the reader more insight to a character’s state of mind would be cool. Maybe a short bio on each one, how they became the way they are. Why they do the things they do. It’s so hard to put everything in a book without a massive word count, so this opens up doors for more interaction with your readers for sure. My brain is still on overload!

  2. I tried one for my latest book. Put it on a couple fliers to hand out in local coffee shops. I checked it with someone who has a smartphone, and it worked. That’s the thing, though…you must *have* that capability and right now, I’d have to say you can’t rely on the fact that your reader will. (Yeah, I know. 😉 Some of us seem to live in the stone age.) I don’t know whether or not it worked to bring up any of the sales, but it couldn’t hurt, right?

    • Hi, J.D.! I can only think of three others who don’t have a smart phone around me. Even my kids friends have them. My three have them too, but I don’t buy the data plans so they can’t do anything online. I’m such a bad mom. LOL

      I think the key to these things is going to be offering something extra for free to entice or make the reader feel more apart of the book and our character’s lives, etc. Not so much directing them to buy, buy, buy. We’re going to need to be sneaky and help them want to push that buy button even more. 🙂 And you’re right, it certainly can’t hurt. The more exposure the better. This kind is not so much in your face either. They are in control over to look or not. But it’s there. Just in case. 🙂

  3. Oh! An example I just found this morning: Soup coupon had one on it so I scanned it and was taken to a cool recipe. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to get the recipe off my phone so I can read it and try it. LOL Oh, my brain hurts!

  4. Okay, here’ s the dummy question of the day. How do you scan it on the iphone? Like is there an app? Or is there a scanner on the phone?

    Yeah, I’m challenged.

    But it’s a cool thing and I love that ENALR has its own 🙂

    • Not a dummy question at all, Liz!! Yeah, there is an app for it. Search QR Reader. For mine, I just downloaded, clicked on app and then took a picture of the box. Voila. I was off and running. 🙂 I’m pretty sure the app is free for everyone. I have a Blackberry though. Hope this helps.

      We could make QR codes for all kinds of cool things here on the blog. Like free giveaways and contests, author interviews, etc. Not sure what we would print them on though. Maybe we need a cool T-Shirt to give away that we could include it on. That’s so funny. Hey, let me scan your shirt! LOL But I’ve seen one and I would love to scan it just to see what the heck it did. 🙂

  5. Wow, Missy. I am so behind the times. I need to do this. Love Will’s idea, but I think he’s running with that one. (drat) I’ll have to write down these instructions. Great post.


    • Hey there, Raven! Thanks for visiting. 🙂 Yeah, this is still pretty new to me too. Just when I get the hang of one thing, something else pops up newer and cooler. LOL Oh, what cool things you could send readers too with your genre using these QR codes. 🙂 Good Luck!

  6. yes, I’ve been using those codes for a couple of years while shopping. I can check prices online! 🙂

    I envision those codes on the back of your business card where the codes would led to your website, or buy links for your books.

    HOWEVER, I have found them generally cumbersome to use. It can be hard to get that code centered in the camera lens of your phone, especially of the code is too big or too small…big being harder that too small.

    I LOVE William’s idea for using these to direct people to online viewing of death scenes as part of a book. Supercooll idea! That’s what I love about William. He’s a little scary sometimes! LOL

    William – I love when you come around. We need the male POV from time to time here. 🙂

    • Check prices online? Cool, Cyndi! A friend says she keeps all her coupons for groceries and even discounts at restaurants on her phone. Doesn’t even clip them anymore! Wow. Just Wow. LOL

      It is difficult to get that picture just right so it will read it. Kind of frustrating. I think they might need some more tweaking. 🙂

  7. I’ve seen these for a while. Stevens edumicated me on them. 🙂 but I haven’t gotten into them. I think because I haven’t used them, I don’t have a use for offering them. probably the worst possible way to think about promo!

    I do love william’s idea too!

    • I’m sure Steven has a better grasp on them than I do. 🙂 It’s fun to think about how far we’ve come today, but it’s also kind of scary. I don’t even want to ask what’s next. LOL

  8. I think these are cool, Melissa, and I’m looking forward to somehow using them in promo, but alas, having a dumb phone (read: one not smarter than I) I can’t scan them.

    I thought about getting a smart phone. I really did. but between my wanting to be ‘unplugged’ a couple hours a day, and being cheap, well…

    • LOL Laura! I here ya! I have the cheapest plan out there. I hate knowing my phone is smarter than me. LOL It’s sad when you use something with so many cool features mainly for texting and emergency calls to your kids. But I’m trying to learn.

  9. Because of my freelance job, I’ve known about them for several years. Also, Entertainment Weekly has used them for a while. Jumping off what they do, you could make one to link to a book trailer on YouTube.

    I think the actual adoption process has been very slow (as far as the general public goes) and I’m also a little skeptical about how many people actually have smartphones (despite how many seem to) and how many of THOSE know what the heck a QR code is.

    That said, it’s *always* better to be an early adopter for promotional possibilities, to get ahead of the curve and catch all the smartest, most tech-savvy readers right off the bat. 🙂 And it’s free!

    There are dozens, if not hundreds, of QR code readers, and probably as many creators. Some work better than others. I tried a few and of the ones I tried, Microsoft Tag was the best. The others had bigger problems finding/scanning successfully.

    • Technology moves way faster than most people in my opinion, Natalie. That can’t be a good thing can it? LOL The free promotion is what caught my interest. Thanks for the heads up on the Microsoft Tag. I’ll be checking them out too. 🙂

  10. I attended the SC Book Festival this weekend and many of the authors had the QR codes on their bookmarks and business cards. I, of course, and behind the times, but I think it is probably a good idea.

  11. I started noticing these a few months back, so I downloaded an app, but I’ve never really used it. You’ve motivated me to start trying it more often!

  12. Thanks Missy for the info … now I don’t feel so far behind.

  13. Thanks, Terri! Hope you catch on to all this faster than me! LOL

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