Q, R, Huh?

Posted Jun 16 2011, 8:00 am in , , , , , ,

I just read Bill Cameron’s COUNTY LINE and found QR codes sprinkled throughout the novel. Intrigued by the thought of extras much like those on a DVD, I couldn’t wait to find out what else Bill had in store for his readers.  But you need a camera phone with internet access to scan QR codes and my antique Motorola lacks that feature. DAMMIT, BILL, now I have to have it. *grins*

This one is connected to my website.

WTH are QR codes anyway?

QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes encoded with pretty much anything – links to websites or social networks, email addresses, YouTube videos, even plain text.  Embed a QR code in a resume to take readers directly to your LinkedIn page, in a business card to bring contacts to your blog or email address, in an invitation to link your invited guests to the venue’s website so they can obtain directions, in an instruction guide that links people to Product Support, or as Bill did, in your novel that links readers to deleted scenes, maps, or epilogues.

How do I create a QR code?

Do a Google search for Create QR Codes and you’ll get about ten million hits. Most sites generate codes for free. Here’s the procedure for www.qrstuff.com. The steps are fairly generic and will likely apply to whatever QR code generator you use.

  • Specify the type of data you wish to encode, like a website, Google Map coordinates, or an email address.
  • Provide the web address of the destination you want your readers to visit. If it’s a website, enter the URL. If it’s an email, enter the email address.
  • Generate the code.
  • Download it to your computer as an image.
  • Insert the image in your project.

For example, to generate a QR code that links to your blog, choose Website.  Open your blog page in a browser. Go to the URL field, copy it and then paste it in the Content field.  To embed an email address, paste that into the Content field. Some sites even let you customize the QR code’s colors. When you’re done, generate the code, download it to your computer as an image and insert it in your project – business card, resume, invitation, even put it on a t-shirt if you’d like.

How does the code work?

Owners of camera phones with internet access simply take a picture of the QR code. The picture can even be taken from a computer screen.  The phone instantly connects readers to the information you embedded in your QR code with no further action required.  It couldn’t be easier!


  • Follow Bill’s lead – embed them in your next novel to bring your readers to deleted scenes or world maps
  • Resume – paste one in your resume to link hiring managers to past employer’s websites, your LinkedIn page, or maybe an online work samples portfolio.
  • Business card – use QR codes to say all you wish could fit in that tiny bit of real estate
  • Announcements –  embed ordering information for the product you sell. Link directly to a great review.

How are you using QR codes? Let’s discuss!




14 responses to “Q, R, Huh?”

  1. Amber says:

    Oh…you have given me some fun ideas with this…


  2. WOW! QR codes just add more interesting information to almost anything you do! Thanks for the post!

  3. Bill Cameron says:

    The QR Codes in County Line were the brainchild of Janet Reid and Meredith Barnes. It’s a great idea, I think. I’ve seen them in books before, but it’s a concept which hasn’t yet really caught fire yet.

    It will. I love the idea of being able to provide extra content, bonus materials and the like. I offer a deleted scene, some video commentary, and a couple of short essays. Photos, a playlist. It was a blast compiling the material, and hopefully it will add to the experience of having the book.

    • Patty Blount says:

      Janet and Meredith are trail-blazers! I LOVED it. I watched all the videos and thought the photos were such a great touch.

  4. Thank you, Patty. This was very helpful. Cheers.

  5. I’m seeing more and more of these, most recently at the GM plant in Ontario. I think that one went to a Facebook or Twitter check-in, which I don’t do, especially if I’m out of town. I’m always hesitant to click links that I can’t tell where they go – must come from working where you get a big, nasty Access Denied message if you inadvertently click on a blocked website.

    But wow, what possibilities for enhanced ebooks!

    • Patty Blount says:

      Yes, my employer also blocks certain sites. But I figure if you know the source, you’re safe. In Bill Cameron’s case, the codes truly are like DVD extras. Brilliant !

  6. I work in advertising & I learned about QR codes last year when we got a new client & built in social media components into their campaign. Pretty cool. Unfortunately, I don’t have a smart phone yet so I’ve yet to see what one actually does for myself.

    • Patty Blount says:

      My phone lacks this ability, too. But pretty much everyone I know has a SmartPhone or BlackBerry or whatever. It’s like magic!

  7. Debora Dale says:

    What a fantastic way to use QR codes! I so love it. What a treat it would be to read a book and get all those little goodies within it.

    I only use QR codes on my business cards right now. A viewer can scan the code and be taken either to my website or blog – depending which card they have. If I had book trailers on youtube, I would send them there as well. I’m curious to see what creative people do with these codes as they gain in popularity.

  8. Patty Blount says:

    Book trailers! Excellent idea.