According to the Kitchn.com (no, it’s not a typo), the sprout is “…a love 'em or hate 'em kind of vegetable… mostly because they're horribly misunderstood and so often badly prepared.”
Nowadays you expect some new online widget or whatnot every two minutes, but have you heard of ‘the Sprout?’ It's incredibly easy to understand and prepare - and perhaps you should have one, it's free. Sprout is the quick and easy way for anyone to build, publish, and manage “living content” -widgets, mini-sites, mashups, banners and more.
It looks like growing into one of ‘the’ tools to use in social marketing of the future, offering a quick online way to build, display and transport content in a mini-portfolio all in one place - and it looks great.
Users create content (“sprouts”) by dragging and dropping rich media such as video, audio, images, text, shapes, and interactive services such as chat (Meebo), phone (Ribbit), fundraising (ChipIn), surveys (PollDaddy), and more. The resulting Flash file can be embedded onto any Web site, blog, or social networking profile or published via widget platforms such as Gigya, Clearspring and SpringWidgets.
Founded by the Hawaiian based entrepreneur and Sprout CEO Carnet Williams, (the same as responsible for the vampire biting game-style gadget on facebook who sold that having decided, wisely, it was just a fad) sproutbuilder.com launched on January 31, 2008 at the DEMO ‘08 conference.
This ‘green’ looks to me to have a more popular online presence than its culinary counterpart. To non-developers, from the outside it looks like a mini website. A host of live pages which can be pasted via the ‘html’ code onto other pages. As its basic function, you could think of it as a transporter for distributable web content of all kinds, the only boundaries being load time and your creativity. It brings your content, all in one place, to someone else's doorstep. The interactivity that this offers to your viewers is an opportunity to engage them rather than just entertain, to enlist as well as inform.
You can see some wonderful examples in the forum of sproutbuilder.com. Once you have the raw materials, you can easily create an incredible promotional tool for posting to blogs, social media and other web pages. It can be easily emailed, embedded and shared by its viewers.Any future changes are automatically made wherever it has been posted.
What's the benefit vs posting just a weblink or a single audio or video file on a social networking site? Viewers see your content without following a link. It's easy to make it look extremely professional (watch out 'cheap' video trailer providers who make just elaborate slide shows, your market will be eaten into by DIY sprout creators) and gives you the ability with no tecchie knowledge to put your content on pages that already have a high visibility without having to drive viewers to your own site. Like pizza home delivery, anyone who visits the website where you have stored your pizza box, gets to see your whole delivery, without having to order it specially or know to ask you for it.
Now, what potential does this have for you as an author and your book promotion?
Remember the good advice about sprouts “…a love 'em or hate 'em kind of vegetable… mostly because they're horribly misunderstood and so often badly prepared.” Make sure you understand a little of what people want to see and listen to, prepare carefully, and don’t overdo it. You can add an endless number of pages, but don't spoil it. Why not use this as a taster to encourage people to visit your website for all the detail? Don't be over zealous in your content. An author bio may not be necessary, the synopsis or blurb and perhaps a video or audio extracts will do. And if you want to encourage interaction then cosider adding a poll or a survey. Don't forget, people remember something in which they are involved 80% more than if they are just told the same information.
So go on, why not get a helping. Go to sproutbuilder.com and check it out. Sprouts always were my favourite vegetable.