QR Codes and Tomorrow’s Blog

by | Mar 13, 2012

Have you ever wondered, when you’re out interacting with people on your fan page on Facebook, whether your author platform was actually growing?

Or questioned whether you should be doing some serious Tweeting, like a lot of other authors do, to gather a big following?

Well, good news. Dan Blank from We Grow Media will be here tomorrow with a content-rich article about exactly how to get started answering questions just like these.

I know you don’t want to miss it. Dan’s gathered some great resources and uses his vast experience helping authors to show you how it all works.

Using QR Codes for Book Promotion

There have been a number of publishing-related events nearby recently, and that got me thinking about promotion.

From past experience I knew that most event-goers get weighed down with freebies from vendors, and everyone ends up with plastic totes stuffed with promotional literature that might get seen, but might not.

A few weeks ago I created some new business cards at Moo.com. They print on Mohawk Superfine, probably my favorite printing paper of all time, and other similar stock. The cards are twice as thick as normal business cards and larger, too.

So I went back to Moo.com and made this one:

book marketing

In this case, the book I’m promoting is the free PDF I give away on the blog (top right corner).

I reasoned that, rather than try to sell somebody I had just met something they might or might not want, content marketing could make my job a lot easier.

After all, I would be in groups of writers and indie publishers, the exact people who are likely to be interested in the articles here and in the free PDF.

By giving them the card, they would have the option of downloading the PDF. If they take the trouble to get it, I can assume that they are going to be interested in the other things I do.

Here’s the back of the card:

book marketing

My hope is that the promise of the PDF and the novelty of the QR codes will intrigue people enough to get their smartphone out and scan them. Of course, I’ve included a “human readable” web address as well.

After this, my next experiment with QR codes will include analytics, since I just ran across a very clever way to track QR codes with Google Analytics.

Of course, this is more metrics, more analysis to look at.

Authors as Marketers

Hate it, huh? But let’s face it. The more book discovery and purchase happen online, the more adept self-publishers have to become at understanding how this stuff works.

That’s exactly the reason I’m doing the analytics I do here on the blog and in my other projects, and why I’m excited to bring you Dan’s article tomorrow.

Photo by WikiThreads

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Dr John Cokley

    We’ve gone one better and started using QR codes actually inside our latest publication, “Cave Hill” by Rob Simson: https://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/cave-hill/18956951?productTrackingContext=author_spotlight_2638583_

    We think this might be a world first … please let us know if you have seen it done before … the in-text QR codes direct readers to relevent and interesting websites related to the narrative, as well as the author’s blog.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Dr John,

      Thanks for your comment. Of course, your link goes to a sales page, so we can’t actually see the use you’re referring to without buying the book.

      QR codes have been around quite a while and have recently enjoyed a boom in popularity due to the wide adoption of smartphones, essentially putting a bar code reader in millions of pockets.

      Putting QR codes in books isn’t exactly new, and last year I designed and produced Massively Networked by Pamela Lund, which contains QR codes throughout linked to sources referenced in the text.

  2. James

    I’m with a lot of folks who say the “fad” of QR codes has already came and went–and the claims of its popularity were largely marketing hype.

    Here’s one opinion

    Makeuseof has it right: near-field communication is what’s already replaced it–NCF is more robust, has more applications, and is easier to use. QR codes were shoehorned into current distribution schemes and are already being phased out by many large retailers.

    • James

      “NFC”, that is, not “NCF”.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Maybe the “fad” has passed for the “leading edge” people, but I’ve been seeing more and more QR codes aimed at “just us folks” so I think they are worth experimenting with. It’s been my experience that even people who own smartphones capable of scanning these codes are just waking up to what they are and how to use them, so maybe they aren’t destined to fade all that quickly. Time will tell.

      • James

        Joel, time has already told.

        QR codes are exactly the wrong kind of tech–esoteric, confusing, and almost always lead to something that people could get more easily other ways. Peope ignore them. Simpler than that, QR codes are already outmoded by less obtrusive, easily automated and transparent tech like NFC.

        This isn’t just my opinion, it’s what’s really happening. Visa is going there. Large retailers are going there. Mobile developers are going there. Google is already there. Phone and chip makers are building NFC into the hardware.

  3. Lynne Favreau

    Smart card. Looking forward to the interview.

  4. Ryan Hanley


    Really great stuff here.

    What I love about it is the Tease and the Simplicity. The offer intrigues but sells itself at the same time.

    Very nice.

    Ryan H.



  1. QR Codes and Tomorrow’s Blog | Publetariat - […] is a cross-posting from Joel Friedlander‘s The Book […]

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