How to Organize a Carnival

Hosting a carnival (this kind, not this kind) can be a lot of fun. It can also be a lot of work! Although I didn’t really keep track of the amount of time I spent putting this week’s carnival of personal finance together, I would say it was easily 4 – 5 hours. Sure, I could have done it in a lot less time than that, but I thought it was necessary to change up this week’s carnival to make it interesting and fun. After hosting several different carnivals, I thought it would be cool to offer up some tips for those of you who haven’t yet hosted a carnival:

1. Get Yourself Organized

About a week from your carnival day, the submissions will begin showing up in your inbox. Fortunately, most of them come from BlogCarnival or ConservativeCat, so they are easy to spot. I suggest that when they start coming in, you put them aside in a special folder or folders. Here’s how I organized the submissions for The Carnival of Personal Finance – Week 59:

Outllook Carnival Organization

When a carnival submission came in, I would check it out, decide which category it belonged in, and file it accordingly (making a new folder if necessary). This step helped a lot when it came time for me to put the carnival post together.

2. Decide Which Format You Are Going to Use

These days, I normally use a table format. Tables can be a bit confusing due to the programming language, but you should be able to figure it out once you get in and start messing around with the code (if you are interested, you can download the table I used and adapt it to your needs. Once you download the table, simply click on the View tab at the top of your browser and choose “Source” from the menu.). I have found tables to be time-consuming but they give the carnival a neat, organized look. I have also put carnivals together, using commentary and links, which works fine for smaller carnivals but can be difficult to organize for a larger carnival.

3. Set a Deadline for Submissions

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to put a carnival together while dealing with late submissions. So, I set a deadline off 6:00 PM Central Time. I reserve the right to not include any submissions that come in after the deadline. Normally, I forward the late submissions to the next host.

Outlook Carnival Organization 24. Put The Carnival Together

I usually start putting the carnival together as soon as I can. This time I started putting it together on Saturday morning. This is the time-consuming part and requires a lot of cutting and pasting. I normally go in the order that I have the submission in my Outlook folders. Once I have added a submission to the carnival, I mark it or flag it (see image on the right) in Outlook so that I can keep track of where I am. This works pretty well.

5. Send Out Emails to Submitters

After the carnival is put together, send out an email to all the submitters, along with a link to the carnival so that they can alert their blog readers. Most submitters are good at linking to carnivals. If you have email addresses for other bloggers, send them links to the carnival too. Also be sure and alert the carnival administrator (Consumerism Commentary is the administrator for the Carnival of Personal Finance) so that they can update the carnival page at BlogCarnival.

6. Relax. Your work is Done

That’s it! It’s pretty simple information but hopefully helpful information for those of you who haven’t hosted a carnival yet. If you have any other tips, please share them by leaving a comment.

4 thoughts on “How to Organize a Carnival”

  1. Good stuff!

    Definitely a lot of work. This is why I’m always so thankful to each host for all of their efforts. I’m too lazy to host a carnival.

  2. Jason,

    Thanks for the comment! It’s kind of funny but the Jason in the second graphic is YOU! I hid your email address.

  3. I don’t organize the Carnival of Business (CoB) like that although it seems to be a popular way of keeping the emails. Each week the submissions are forwarded to the host. I suspect you have a designated carnival email address. I might do that. Nice tutorial.

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