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:
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.
4. 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.