First, if you don’t know what a QR code is, it’s one of those black squares made up of blobby black patterns that are starting to appear everywhere. QR stands for Quick Response, and they’re a kind of barcode. If you have a camera phone, you can read that barcode and … whatever. Here’s a Wiki article about it.
So what? Well, I’ll tell you so what: You can encode a web page in that little square. If you pay money, you can get one in color. If anybody knows a place to get a QR code free that includes color and an identifiable logo, please post that link in the comments.
Here’s what you do: Set up a web page with your information on it–text, pictures, whatever, and go to where you can generate a QR code. I’m usually sending folks to a web page, so I use is.gd URL shortener. Once you’ve generated your short url, there’s a little link you can click to generate a QR code for that URL. You can choose to track uses of that particular short URL. I’ve never used the KAYWA QR generator, but it looks simple and useful. Just do a Google search for free QR code generators and see what you like. Free because, you know.
So I set up shortened URLs and QR codes for the pages at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and OmniLit where my sf novel EEL’S REVERENCE is available. When the QR code is generated, just right-click on it and download it (it’s only a picture) to your computer. Then you can play with it.
This weekend at FandomFest, I printed out some address labels with the codes on them. I put some on the backs of bookmarks and one on the back of an index card which I wore like a name badge. In the future, I think I’ll include a blurb and cover photo instead of attaching a bookmark to the badge, although that certainly attracted attention.
I’ve heard of authors having T-shirts made up with their book cover on the front and QR coded buy links on the back. This weekend, I saw business cards with QR codes to the author or business’ website in the corner. Imma do that
Speaking of FandomFest, MomGoth saw enough ink this weekend to satisfy even her ink-starved heart. One of my Friday recommends is going to be the body art business that demonstrated to her how stencils are applied–to somebody else, I hasten to say.
And speaking of tattoos, here is the best use of QR codes I’ve ever seen–an animated tattoo! Enjoy:
UPDATE: I did get a T-shirt with my site’s QR code on it, and I had postcards made up with QR codes all over it. I’ll do a post about those and link to it here. Meanwhile, for more betterer information on using QR codes to promote your book, see also Holly Jahangiri’s post on the subject.
WRITING PROMPT: If you could get an animated tattoo, what would it be?