Katie Davis shares some QR Code promoting insight with us!

I have been working on QR Codes since 2006 and I have seen and found many different uses of them. They are widely known and used in Japan and other eastern countries since the nineties and I watched them getting known more and more by western countries in the last two years.

After creating my generator page on this site and publishing Qrafter, I started to meet great people, one after another. Then one day, I met Katie Davis, who is a talented children’s book writer. She recently finished her first eBook aimed at us, adults: How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. She has some great ideas and insight in it and she let me publish a few ideas that include the use of QR Codes here. Let’s read them in her own words, and hey, don’t forget to grab a copy of her eBook:

Five Ways QR Codes Are More Than Just a Gimmick

Thank you, Kerem for hosting a stop on my blog tour for my new eBook, How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. There are some awesome ways people in creative businesses can use QR codes and I’m going to share a few of the things I’ve advised authors in hopes your readers get some ideas for their own businesses.

It feels like there are a million ways you can use QR codes, especially when they can lead to the following:

1. Information

Say you wrote a book called Elephants in the Wild. Your QR code could lead a person to a video showing… guess what? Elephants in the wild. Or to a downloadable activity sheet you created on your site for teachers.

2. Promotion

Scan the following code and you’ll be taken to a book trailer I made that just won the School Library Journal Trailee award. It’s for a book called Little Chicken’s Big Day:

3. Connection

Imagine you’re on a plane, winging your way to someplace fabulous. If you’re anything like me, you will be sitting next to teacher who will be thrilled when you hand her your card with a QR code on it that leads straight to your site where she can find your “Freebies for Teachers” or school visit info page.

4. Excitement

Do you have a backlisted book or old product you want to give a little lovin’ to? Create a scavenger hunt for your readers in which they follow the clues provided with consecutive QR codes you’ve created – the winner gets a free signed copy.

5. Creative breadcrumbs to your content

  • Temporary tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Business cards
  • On a tee shirt
  • Magnets
  • Name tag
  • Printed in your book (to lead to the trailer)
  • On your brochures
  • On your site
  • In your email signature

I think QR codes work best when they offer something more to the target audience than just “look at my website.” Think about what is your call to action?

  • Buy your book or product
  • Take a survey
  • Join your mailing list
  • Direct people to your fan page
  • Watch your book trailer
  • Free support content on your site
  • Win a contest
  • Learn more about your book’s subject

QR codes are not just cool gimmicky things: I know school librarians who are putting QR codes on the spines of books, giving kids a smart phone to scan the code, which then leads to a book trailer. Books with QR codes circulate more than ones that don’t have them which means QR codes are enabling literacy!

I can’t imagine anything less gimmicky than that!


Children’s author/illustrator Katie Davis has published ten books, nine of them for children and one for adults, an eBook, How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. She appears monthly on the ABC affiliate show, Good Morning CT, recommending great books for kids.

Katie produces a podcast, Brain Burps About Books; she writes a blog and monthly newsletter; and has designed and hosted webinars, all in an effort to “spread the gospel of kidlit.”

Katie’s book trailers have been finalists for both Moby and School Library Journal Trailee awards, and the video she did for Little Chicken’s Big Day won the 2012 Trailee.

Katie is a two-time Cybils judge and has also judged the Golden Kite, smartwriters.com. Katie has taught in a maximum security prison teaching Writing for Children and over the last dozen years has presented and keynoted at schools, writing conferences, and fundraising galas.

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7 Responses

  1. Don’t put me in the drawing as I won a copy on an earlier stop on the blog tour. But I wanted to say this post is full of wonderful ideas. I have known about QR codes for quite a while because I also invest in stocks and one stock that I’m investing in has patents for QR code-related advertising. Anyway, I read their news all the time and it’s amazing what they do with these things. Also, QR codes are in their infancy, so I believe as more and more folks become aware of them that they will have phenomenal possibilities. When I went to a recent SCBWI conference and QR codes were mentioned, the speaker was met with a room full of blank stares. That is changing quickly. Thanks for listing those handy ideas for using them, Katie. And thanks to the QR Code King for hosting Katie on her blog tour.

  2. Damon Dean says:

    Undeniably a part of the future of kid lit…thanks Katie and Kerem for pointing out the potential.

  3. Mark Baldwin says:

    OK… I’ll join you on this adventure in advertising and will start by creating a site on which I will link to your site.. Kudo’s MadMark1958

  4. At the risk of asking a dumb question, these codes have to be printed on something – or on a website in order for people to scan them right? So do you have multiple business cards with different QR codes – one for teachers, one for parents, etc.?

    Great ideas Katie!

    • Kerem says:

      Yes Julie, the best way to use a QR Code is to use it on printed medium. But I am not sure about different contact cards, if you need to give different contact info to different people, then that makes sense.

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