Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Column: The One About QR Codes, Tattoos, Google Stories and YouTube by Becky Clark

I’m still recovering from my favorite writer’s conference. Ah, who am I kidding … they’re all my favorites! But the Pikes Peak Writers Conference holds a special place in my heart. It was my first. I learn so much about the craft and the business of writing, even after all these years, but most importantly, it’s where I found my Tribe. These writer peeps not only inspire and teach me; they understand me. Non-writers just don’t get ‘the writing thang.’

This year was a tad different from years past because I was honored with an invitation to be a member of the faculty. I was on two panels — one about building your nonfiction platform and the other about critique groups and critiquing. I also presented two workshops.

In ‘From Research to Revenue’ I showed the participants how to use article syndication and Kindle to make some money utilizing the research they’ve already done when writing their novels.

My other workshop was about marketing your books. I knew I wouldn’t get through everything I wanted to talk about so I gave everyone a huge handout with all kinds of great links and ideas for marketing.

But I also had this crazy awesome idea which combined four of these marketing concepts. Like the 4H of marketing. Or the four marketing seasons of the year. Or the four legs that hold up your marketing table. Or the nickel defense in football. Oh, wait. 

Suffice it to say, I was gonna blow their ever-lovin’ conference-goin’ marketing minds. I made a Google Story (this one you saw if you watched the SuperBowl) and posted it to my YouTube channel. Then I took that link and turned it into a QR Code, which is one of these thingamabobs you’re going to see everywhere now:

If you take a picture of a QR Code with your smartphone, you are taken any number of places. It’s a quick way to get someone to your website, a coupon, your Facebook page, a YouTube video, a restaurant review … anywhere that has a URL.

I suspect the next generation of smartphones will have the QR code reading software already loaded, but if you have a smartphone with the appropriate QR Code reading app, you could zap a photo of that image up there, and be taken straight to my video, Marketing Is A Many Splendored Thing.

But wait, you say. That’s only three things — Google Stories, YouTube and QR Codes. (That was you, wasn’t it? Am I hearing things?)

You’re right. The fourth part of this awesomesauce was getting my QR Code made into a temporary tattoo which I would wear at the conference for people to see, question, discuss and scan.

Alas, even though I ordered them in ample time, and the people making them assured me I’d get them WELL ahead of time, they showed up at my house the day after I left for the conference. I was all excited about being one of their affiliates, but now, not so much. I got an email from their Marketing Director saying he hoped the conference went well and that my scheme was a hit. But when I emailed back and said, “Nope. You didn’t get me my stuff in time so it was a bust,” I haven’t heard a peep from him.

I didn’t spend much money, so it’s not just that, but it’s really hard to get excited about recommending a company that let me down in such a big way.

So I won’t recommend them, unless they do something cool to make me feel better. And if they don’t, they will have lost a big mouth, er, voice who would have sung their innovative praises all over the place. Oh well. I bet there are other places to get tattoos.
At any rate, I talked about the “Big Tattoo Surprise” before the conference so I wanted to fill you in on the rest of the story.

Becky Clark is a popular blogger, entrepreneur, speaker, and author of wildly divergent books — for example, An UnCivil War – The Boys Who Were Left Behind (middle-grade historical fiction); Reading Maniac — Fun Ways To Encourage Reading Success (a guide for parents of reluctant readers); and The Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle Cookbook. Her BeckyLand blog can be found at http:/ and her healthy living website/blog is She is a highly functioning chocoholic.

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