How a QR Code Can Help Book Sales

I have learned to leave the price off of
bar codes that I purchase for my books
(Watch for January's post: Purchased vs Free Bar Codes)

By Linda Wilson   @LinWilsonauthor

A QR Code (quick-response code) is a type of barcode on steroids. A better definition comes from Wikipedia, which defines the QR Code as a two-dimensional matrix barcode. The QR code system was invented in 1994 by a team of researchers at the Denso Wave automotive products company in Japan, headed by Masahiro Hara. The purpose for the invention was to keep track of automobile parts by replacing individual bar codes with a single label containing a  QR Code that provided a greater amount of data. (Wikipedia: QR Code)

Barcode vs QR code

Also according to Wikipedia, a barcode is a machine-readable optical image that contains specific information about the labelled item. A QR code offers much more: dedicated data for a locator, an identifier, and a web-tracker.

How a QR code works

Mainly, smartphones are used to scan QR Codes. However, there are other ways, such as purchasing software like QR Code Studio and using your webcam to scan QR codes. If you don’t own a smartphone, you can find more information by searching “QR Code scanner online free.” Websites are available that can read QR Codes and provide free links. 

Back to smartphones. Android and iPhones make scanning QR Codes easy. Newer smartphones are equipped with built-in QR Code scanning in the camera app. Simply point the camera at the QR Code and a link pops up, which directs you to the embedded content.

Older smartphones and basic-feature phones might not have the built-in QR Code scanning capability. If this is true for you, you will need to use a third-party app to scan QR Codes. Screenshots of QR Codes work as well, as long as the shot is clear. The QR Code will contain all necessary information.

QR Codes and You

You can direct customers to your webpage, your social media, and your website, for example, by loading your information onto your own QR Code. I’m in the early stages of studying the information I need to create my own QR Code—for free. Here is a short list of websites I found in my search:

QR Codes are everywhere. For example, you’ve been to restaurants where you can view the menu by scanning the establishment’s QR Code. But I didn’t think of using a QR Code for my own book sales until I met a YA author who uses her QR Code very effectively.

I observed my fellow children’s author while sharing a table with her at a recent book sale. She mentioned her QR Code to everyone who stopped at our table. She had created a “sell sheet” on half of an 8 ½ x 11 paper, that had her logo, book titles and blurbs, and her contact information. In the bottom right-hand corner she directed customers to scan her QR Code so they could reach her newsletter directly, and encouraged them to sign up. Voila! She told me that was one way she’d been building her base of contacts. I was thoroughly impressed and thought it was a smart and clever way to be in touch with interested readers.

I hope you find the introduction to QR Codes in this post helpful. If you use a QR Code for selling your books, please leave a comment so our readers can benefit from your experience.


Google "QR Codes How to Use to Scan My Website": You will find information and videos on YouTube to help in all areas of using QR Codes

Wikipedia: "QR Codes"

Lobo Lucy visited out book sale 
on Veteran's Day this year.
I wore my husband's Navy
cap to honor his service
and the service of
all our brave soldiers.
Linda Wilson is the author of the Abi Wunder Mystery series and other books for children. Her two new releases are Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me! (2022) and Cradle in the Wild: A Book for Nature Lovers Everywhere (2023). You’ll find Linda on her Amazon author page, on her website at, and on Facebook.

Click the links for free coloring pages and a puppet show starring Thistletoe Q. Packrat. While you’re there, get all the latest news by signing up for Linda’s newsletter.  Connect                                with  Linda: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram

In the Spotlight: An Interview with Author and Standup Comedienne Angela Verges

 by Suzanne Lieurance

Author and Standup Comedienne Angela Verges

Even though Angela Verges works a full time day job, she stays focused on her comedy, both as a writer and a performer.

Learn some of her secrets of success in this recent interview. 

Suzanne Lieurance: Tell us about your background and how you got started as a writer.

Angela Verges: My writing started in 5th grade when I received a journal as a gift from my mom. It was a green, fake leather-bound, pocket-sized journal with a tiny key. I actually still have the diary. I pulled it out recently and browsed through it. It was fun to look back at my handwriting and seeing the things that were happening at the time. One entry said, “It’s the Fourth of July, we’re at my great grandmother’s house getting ready to watch the fireworks.”

SL: What kinds of things do you write these days?

AV: Blog posts, humorous essays, speeches to present at my Toastmaster’s club, and jokes for my stand-up comedy.

SL: How did your book menopause come about? Tell us about the book.

AV: My book Menopause Ain’t No Joke is what I call a non-traditional devotional and journal. It is a collection of my personal essays on parenting, weight gain, dental visits, and other life experiences sprinkled with humor. At the end of each essay is a scripture and space for the reader to write their reflections.

The book was birthed after my participation in a pageant for women 50 and older. We were required to perform a talent. I labored over what I could do as a talent. Then it hit me – why not try comedy? We only had to perform for two minutes. However, I had no idea what I would perform.

I’ve always loved humor and comedy. The focus of the pageant was women of a certain age. I thought about what I was going through and how I was surviving and sometimes thriving using humor. That’s when my comedy bit was born. I ended the performance saying – menopause ain’t no joke.

Over the next few months following the pageant, I began compiling my blog posts to create the book.

SL: You are also a standup comedienne. How did you get started doing this?

Angela with Other Comics at the Detroit House of Comedy

AV: A few weeks after the pageant, a friend told me about a talent show fundraiser that her church was hosting and she suggested that I sign up, and I did. The requirement was four minutes for our talent display. I added to the two minutes I performed for the pageant, and I was on my way. 

I make this sound easy peasy but let me expound. I keep a humor journal where I write down things I find funny. It could be a funny sign posted somewhere, a remark someone makes, or something that happens to me. During dental appointments I seem to come up with new material.

During one visit the dentist asked me, “Has anything changed since your last visit?”

“Yes, menopause,” I said.

“Oh, that can cause changes in your gums, and your teeth can shift.”

“Give it to me straight Doc, how much time do I have left…with this set of teeth?”

I didn’t actually say that to my dentist, but I did chuckle inside my head.

SL: How do you find material for your stand-up routines? Can you describe your process for turning real life events into stand-up material?

AV: Very often the material finds me. Let me explain through an interaction with my son. We were at a family gathering and my son and I took selfies. He looked at the phone and said,” I look kinda nice today.”

“You, look like me,” I said.

“So, I look like a 58-year-old menopausal woman?!”

“I’m 57, and I have a better mustache than you.”

I later used that scenario as an opening for one of my comedy sets. Whenever everyday things happen, I write them down. I don’t always know when or how I will use the scenarios. I create a heading for each joke or story when I record them. For instance, the episode that occurred at the dental office, I titled Dental Visit. The next dental episode I called Dental Too. It’s all a part of my strategy for organizing the jokes and it helps me to remember them.

Another humorous episode happened when I was practicing yoga at home using an app. 

The Yogi said, “Put one hand on your belly, and breathe.” 

No one was home but, me and I said out loud, “I can’t hold my belly, it’s heavy, that’s why I’m here.” 

I giggled to myself, stopped my yoga session momentarily and wrote down what I had just experienced. And that is my process for turning real life events into stand-up material. There is also a bit of exaggeration. 

SL: What do you enjoy most about being a writer and comedienne?

 AV: Writing allows me to express myself in fun and creative ways. I feel an energy when I’m writing or performing. I love that I can write anywhere.

When performing I enjoy hearing laughter from the audience. I also appreciate when people come up to me after the show and say, “that was so relatable.”

SL: What is your biggest challenge as a writer and/or comedienne?

AV: I have to remember to find balance and focus. Sometimes I will have several projects going on at one time. I may be taking a comedy class, writing an article for an essay contest, and working on freelance writing. It has been a great benefit having coaching sessions with you Suzanne. I remember your advice when I take on a new project, and ask myself, is this in line with my goals?

For me the positive aspect of having more than one project going is that I can shift gears when I get stuck in one area.

As a comedienne one challenge for me sometimes is getting out to open mics to practice my craft. I still work full-time, so I have to consider the time and location of where I go. If it’s during the week, it has to be within a certain radius of home because I have to get my rest. Some comedians go out several times during the week and multiple times in one night. Comedians do this because the best way to get better is with a live audience, it’s instant feedback. So, when I do have the opportunity to perform at an open mic, I show up with energy and give my best performance. 

SL: You often present workshops for writers. Tell us the workshops you offer.

AV: Thanks for asking about my workshops. The workshops I offer are:

Hungry For Humor? Feed Your Muse

Humor Happy Hour – Tips for Using Humor in the Workplace

Write Now! And How?


The workshops are an hour and fifteen minutes and designed for the beginner or intermediate writer seeking to dedicate more time to their writing but need a little push or a fresh start. In the workshops I share tips, resources, writing prompts, and a short, timed writing period.


SL: What is your best tip for writers?

AV: Be consistent, keep showing up for yourself, invest in yourself. Is that more than one tip? Schedule your writing time on a calendar, treat it as if you’re going on a date, stick to the commitment. Determine how much time you will write and make your commitment attainable and realistic. If you know you only have 30 minutes to write, don’t say you’re going to write for two hours. It can leave you feeling disappointed and beating up on yourself. Set yourself up for success, not failure. Set a reachable goal, and if you exceed that, pat yourself on the back. Better yet, throw your fist in the air and shout, “I did it.” 

When I say invest in yourself, I’m suggesting that you attend writer’s workshops, connect with other writers who are doing what you want to do, and are successful at it. Investing in yourself also means focusing on your health and well-being. Rest when you need to, treat yourself to a home spa day – give yourself a facial, a foot bath, listen to soothing music. Do something that brings you joy.

SL: Where can people learn more about you and your book, upcoming performances, and workshops, etc.?

I post upcoming events on my social media:

Instagram –

Facebook  - https://www.facebook/angela.verges

Website –

Readers can also sign up for my newsletter – Hott Flash News for doses of humor, wellness tips, and periodic giveaways.

Suzanne Lieurance

For more author interviews and tips for writers, visit

          Be sure to sign up for your free subscription to The Morning Nudge.

          Suzanne Lieurance is an award-winning author & writing coach.

Consistent Action Instead of Perfection

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

We love a good story. When we hear or read the words, it makes us lean into the conversation or the words fly past as we turn the pages. It’s a skill every writer needs to learn and constantly improve. Some of us write our stories, then rewrite them and tweak and rewrite them—to the point we never submit them. They are constantly in motion and never submitted. It’s this action that I’d like to address in this article.

Over my decades in publishing, I’ve had great opportunities to write for magazines and various books. It’s not that I’m the best storyteller in the room but I am one of the more consistent and persistent authors. It’s a key trait. At conferences, I meet with editors and pitch my ideas. The editor says, “Great idea. Write that up and send it to me.”

After the meeting, I make a little note then I go home, write it up and send it to them. Now taking that action doesn’t mean I get published. It means I gave myself a chance to get published. It’s key to take action and submit your material. If you don’t submit, then you don’t give yourself a chance for that to happen.

As an editor, I go to conferences and meet with writers and listen to their ideas. I encourage them, “I’m interested. Send it to me.” Then I hand them my business card. What I’ve found is only about 10% will actually follow up and send it to me. I follow-up and ask for it but still only a small percentage will send it.

The process is balancing act. You have to learn the skill of storytelling. I encourage you to perfect this skill in the magazine world. It’s easier to write 1200-word magazine article than a 50,000-word book. A magazine article needs an interesting beginning, solid middle then a takeaway ending (a single point to the article). AND if you put ten of these articles together into a single theme, then you have a book manuscript. 

Consistent action is one of the keys. Admittedly we want our writing to be excellent and help others. I’ve seen many people get stuck in the process and never submit their words for publication. Even if your material isn’t perfect, you need to get it into the market and published.

A resource to help you in this area is the book from Michael Masterson called Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero To $100 Million In No Time Flat. Whether you buy the book or check it out of your library or listen to the audio version of the book, you will be encouraged to move forward even if it isn’t perfect. 

The publishing world is full of opportunity, but you have to build the relationship, follow-up and then take action and submit your material. It is not complicated but requires consistent action taking.

A true statement: nothing is built instantly. Instead, it takes consistent and persistent effort. If you make such an effort, then you can find your place in the world of publishing. If you pitched something years ago and never sent it, then you have not missed your opportunity. I encourage you to reach out to that editor and still send it. The other day, a writer who had pitched something to me in 2018 emailed and asked if she could still send her submission. Immediately I responded that she should send it.  I’m continuing to look for the right books and the right authors. If I can help you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. 


Are you a perfectionist? This prolific writer and editor encourages consistent action instead of perfection. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in California. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s recent book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Goals for Creating Courses

Writers tend to be entertainers, informers, and educators. Have you ever thought about creating a course to share your expertise, as well as your passion?

On a recent episode of GoalChatLive, I spoke about creating courses with Course Creation Expert Nancy Giere and Business Growth & Marketing Strategist Jason Van Orden. Nancy and Jason shared the why and how of creating courses, what stops people from taking and creating courses, and more.

According to Jason, people create courses to take their intellectual property farther. He also believes it's helpful to have a course idea in mind when writing a book, since the content supports each other. Adds Nancy, having a course and a book enables you to "bundle your brilliance." Plus, she says, the more ways you engage, the more people you can serve.

The First Steps of Course Creation

  • Jason: Know who your course is for and what is the outcome? Be specific.
  • Nancy: Identify what are they going to be able to do/know/feel after they complete your course – what’s the transformation? It will give you, the creator, focus
  • Jason: Break it down into meaningful milestones. Milestones = lessons
  • Nancy: Also decide if it’s a course or courses

Course Creation Goals 

  • Jason: Do customer discovery interviews. When you have that information, it makes your course-creation process so much easier
  • Nancy: Take a look at your content to see what information you already have for your course. You can also look at AI for content ideas. Think of AI as you assistant; a starting point.

Watch our conversation:

Final Thoughts 

  • Jason: You are someone’s playlist. There’s something about you and what you provide that will draw the right people toward you
  • Nancy: Often times with music, fans start by loving a single song and then see what else the musician offers. Think about what individual course you can create that will bring your audience to you and get everything started
No matter your expertise, if you have knowledge to impart, consider creating a course. It's yet another way to reach your audience of readers, prospects, and fans!

* * * 

For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin! 

* * *

What are your tips for creating courses? Please share in the comments. 

* * *
Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A goal-strategist, corporate consultant, and project catalyst, Debra offers personal and professional planning, event strategy, and team building for individuals, businesses, and teams. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; host of  #GoalChatLive aka The DEB Show podcast and Taste Buds with Deb. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn't Shortchange Self-Publishing

                      Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Shortchange Self-Publishing 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning 
HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

I have been Sinatra’s proverbial “prince, pauper” and a number of other things when it comes to publishing—meaning that I have tried publishing every almost every way imaginable and am here to tell you there is no one right way to do it. It can depend on your personality (are you super independent?), your pocketbook, the nature of your title, the time window you have and more. Because the term self-publishing is so often misunderstood, it is important to tell you what true self-publishing is and is not.

1.      It is frugal—or not—depending on the choices you make. It is flexible. You do everything yourself which is very frugal—very nearly free—with everything but you time. Or you hire the skills you know you should (like book cover design) and some skills you don’t want to take on (perhaps like formatting) when your pocketbook allows. And when you chose to ignore those guidelines for skills everyone adamantly recommends you avoid because you are too frugal or just plain stubborn (like editing), you tackle learning as much about it as you possibly can with the vengeance of becoming a professional and plan on doing double duty when it comes to getting help from beta readers as suggested in my The Frugal Editor.

2.      As suggested above (but bears repeating), you can publish with no upfront costs.

3.      You make all the net profit from your book. If you don’t, then it’s not really self-publishing. In fact it may be an indicator that it is vanity publishing which carries problems of its own. (By the way, I don’t like the “vanity” term because it negates the value of creativity of any book.)

4.      That you can’t use your own ISBN number is a myth. You must pay for your ISBN if you want one that carries no hidden code for a press that isn’t your own, but they can come free with some like Amazon and others like the dreaded vanity presses you have probably heard about. Most readers won’t know the difference.

5.      You keep all the rights to your work and, yes, though it isn’t easy, you can change your mind later.

6.      You make all the net profit from your book. If you don’t, then it’s not really self-publishing.

7.      You can (but won’t always!) publish more quickly. There are some very good reasons to want to do this. Your book’s topic may be time sensitive. You are aware that you may not live forever. You may simply have other stories (or books) waiting for their own time in the sun.

8.      You make all the profit net profit from your book. If you don’t, then it’s not really self-publishing. A better net profit is about making earnings for your efforts, but they also give you more room to play with like offering your book at a discount at book fairs and still make a profit for yourself (albeit a smaller one).

9.      Make no mistake, the likelihood of your self-published book of becoming a true bestseller or of seeing it on the shelves of bookstores everywhere is far less than if you snag a huge (read that “Big New York Five” as an example) contract. But if you’re publishing only to get huge sales (or profits), it is a long shot in cany case. Publish—traditionally, self, or somewhere in between—for other good reasons. There are plenty great reasons for each scenario.

10.   If you have another business, you can self-publish a book that will impart your professional credibility to your customers and attract new ones. (To say nothing of producing a little extra income stream).

Note: Your book may lead to other creative income streams like audio books, CDs, toys, and suggest other free promotions for the good of your book or other pursuits.

More About the Author

Carolyn Howard-Johnson started what she considers her “real writing” career when most are thinking of retiring. She brings her experience as publicist, journalist, marketer, editor, retailer, and the author of those books published almost every way possible including traditionally, to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program including a class on editing for self-publishers. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes  The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor which won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her self-published How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically launched to rave reviews from Karen Cioffi, writer and publisher.


Karen says, “I’m an author, content writer, and online marketing instructor. Reading Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s The Frugal Editor has given me lots and lots of tips and reminders on how to write right, whether I’m writing fiction, nonfiction, blogging, or marketing. It’s a writing tool I’ll refer to over and over again.”

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

The Two Elements of Point of View


By Karen Cioffi, Children's Writer

 As the title states, there are two elements to point of view (POV).

1. The first element is who’s telling the story.

From whose viewpoint is the story being related to the reader? Or whose story is it?

With this part of POV, you’re choosing the character who is telling the story.With young children’s books, there should be only one POV: that of the protagonist.

When you’re writing in one character’s POV, it’s essential that you don’t accidentally fall into head-hopping.

Head-hopping suddenly brings another character’s POV into the story within the same scene. It may be the same paragraph or the same chapter.

There’s no lead-in to the POV change, which makes it jarring to the reader. It can cause the reader to pause, making him read the passage a few times to get it straight.

It may seem that sticking to one POV is an easy thing, but it’s actually a very easy slip to make. You can slip into another character’s POV without even realizing it.

An example:

Jason is the POV character. Ralph is his best friend.

Jason couldn’t wait to tell Ralph his good news. He grabbed Ralph by the arm and spun him around.

“Hey,” Ralph yelled. His immediate thought was to have his fist ready.

This sentence brings Ralph’s POV into the scene as his thoughts are being made known to the reader.

To eliminate it:
Jason couldn’t wait to tell Ralph his good news. He grabbed Ralph by the arm and spun him around.

“Hey,” Ralph yelled, his fist ready to fly.

With this little change, you’re keeping the essence of the scene while also keeping it in Jason’s (the POV character) POV.

Another example.
Jason couldn’t stop thinking of the girl he and Ralph met earlier. And neither could Ralph.

When you slip into another character’s internal thoughts, you’re head-hopping.

See how easy it is to do this-just four little words.

A simple fix:
Jason couldn’t stop thinking of the girl he and Ralph met earlier. He knew Ralph couldn’t either.

According to Jerry Jenkins, “I avoid that [head-hopping] by imagining my Point of View or Perspective Character as my camera—I’m limited to writing only what my character “camera” sees, hears, and knows.”

2. The second element is whether the story is told in first, second, or third person.

The second element establishes how the story is told. In other words, is it told in first person, second person, or third person limited?

This is a powerful element of storytelling.

A quick overview:

First-person pronouns: me, I, mine, and my.

The protagonist is telling his story. He’s the narrator.

Examples of this POV are:
–Angry Ninja by Mary Nhin
–Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
–The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Second-person pronouns: you, your, and yours.

The protagonist is the narrator and talks directly to the reader.

Examples of this POV are:
–How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan
-Train Your Angry Dragon By Steve Herman
–The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

Third-person limited pronouns: he, she, they, it.

A narrator is telling the story through the protagonist’s perspective in the case of young children’s books.

The narrator is inside the protagonist’s thoughts, senses, and feelings.

According to MasterClass, it ”can give readers a deeper experience of character and scene, and is the most common way to use point of view.”

Examples of this POV:
Walking Through Walls by Karen Cioffi
–The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
–The Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

I hope this helps you get a better handle on point of view.

This article was first published at: 





Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author, ghostwriter, editor, rewriter, and coach with clients worldwide. If you need help with your story, click HERE.

Karen also provides:

A guided self-study course and mentoring program.

A DIY book to help you write your own children’s book.

Self-publishing help for children’s authors.

Using Personality Typologies to Build Your Characters

  Contributed by Margot Conor People often have asked me how I build such varied and interesting character profiles. I’m fond of going into ...