A QR code is that odd looking dappled square you see on ads and other things, usually with the words, “Scan for more information” somewhere nearby. Most people who have smart phones (and that’s a pretty significant percentage of the population these days) have an app that lets them scan QR codes. Once the code has been read, it redirects the app to a specific web address.
How can an author make use of QR codes?
When I go to a conference or convention, like most authors I take brochures and postcards with me. Each piece has a QR code on it, different ones for the cards versus the brochures. The codes go to special pages on my website that aren’t linked from anywhere else. But the pages are tracked by Google Analytics, so after the conference, I can use Google Analytics to tell me how many times the page was viewed, which tells me how much interest each piece is getting. It’s helpful to know whether a brochure or postcard is attracting attention and I can adjust what I do next time.
I also put a QR code on bookmarks, which I mostly send out via mail. I find that they don’t get picked up from swag tables, since there are usually dozens of piles of different ones, but I put an offer for them on my website.
It sounds like it would be complicated to create a QR code, but it isn’t really. Here’s a step by step way to do it:
For each code, first, create a new page on your website. Either have your web person do it for you, or if you maintain your own site, add a new page. If you use WordPress, make the page a private one so it isn’t linked on the menu. Make note of the full link to the page, starting with http://.
Then go to one of these web sites:
There are plenty of other sites you can find by Goodling “QR Code Generator.”
You plug in the full page URL for the page you created and the site will show you the code graphic it has created from the URL you plugged in. Most sites will have a link to download an image of the graphic; some will give you a choice of formats. Unless you’re comfortable working with graphics, I suggest you download the image as a .jpeg or .jpg file. Save it to your desktop or some other place you’ll know where to find it again.
If you’ve hired someone to design your pieces for you, you just need to send that jpeg file to them. If you design your own graphics, then you know how to insert the image into the piece you’re designing.
If you don’t have a Google Analytics account to let you track the page views, I strongly suggest you sign up now. The amount of information you can get about who is visiting your website is just amazing!
By the way, you can read a QR code off the screen and the one above with the post should take you to a page of special offers on my website.
Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Awards she’s won include an Eppie Award for fantasy; three other Eppie finals; Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. This year her romantic suspense novel, The Detective’s Dilemma is a finalist for a Daphne duMaurier Award. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.
The Detective’s Dilemma
Blurb: Although Sarah Anne Martin admits to pulling the trigger, she swears someone forced her to kill her lover. Homicide detective Jay Christianson is skeptical, but enough ambiguous evidence exists to make her story plausible. If he gives her enough freedom, she’ll either incriminate herself or draw out the real killers. But, having been burned before, Jay doesn’t trust his own protective instincts…and his growing attraction to Sarah only complicates matters.
With desire burning between them, their relationship could ultimately be doomed since Sarah will be arrested for murder if Jay can’t find the real killer.