The blog carnival must be one of the blogosphere’s finest innovations. Akin to an anthology but far more dynamic, a carnival harnesses the self-publishing, self-promoting spirit of blogging. And because the cost of entry is so low (free, actually,) magnificent new carnivals are popping up almost as quickly as new blogs. Not long after I started a carnival dedicated to the best of bird blogging, we spiraled our way down the food chain to get one devoted to bug blogging. Can an amoeba blogging carnival be far behind? Apparently not, as we enjoyed, for at least a little while, a Carnival of the Animalcules!
If you publish your own blog (and if not, don’t you think it’s time?) you should have no problem finding at least one carnival to contribute to on a regular basis. And once you’ve hung around the carny scene long enough, you’ll probably want to host one of the rotating carnivals, those that move to different sites based on who is hosting, on your own site. Embrace that feeling and get involved! Many carnivals are compelling precisely because, every two weeks or so, someone comes along to present as new spin on the existing theme, to inject fresh energy and personality. If you you are thinking of hosting a carnival, here’s some guidance from someone who’s participated, hosted, and even founded a carnival and seen a lot of brilliant contributions to the form. My advice is tailored towards those preparing to host I and the Bird, but applicable to anyone ready to play ringmaster for a wandering carnival. Click through the links to see each of the steps below explained in detail in its own post. Follow each one to be the host with the most:
Step 1. PARTICIPATE
Before you host a carnival, you should be a contributor.
Step 2. RECRUIT
Encourage a wide array of contributors, including some new voices.
Step 3. ORGANIZE
Evaluate each submission for suitability. Always respond with a grateful yea or an explanatory nay.
Step 3a. HANDLE WITH CARE
Don’t turn away submissions without good reason.
Step 3b. CLASSIFY
Determine whether a submission comes from an actual blog.
Step 4. HOUSECLEAN
Make sure your site is optimized for new visitors.
Step 5. PRESENT
Come up with an innovative theme or organizational scheme for your edition.
Step 6: PROMOTE
The purpose of a blog carnival is to focus lots of attention on one blog which then, acting as a multiplier, shares the traffic with all carnival participants.
Step 6a: THEY PROMOTE
Anyone who submits a post to a specific edition of a roaming carnival should help promote that edition.
Step 6b: YOU PROMOTE
Work your network to share the wealth.
Step 7: ENTERTAIN
Make sure your site is running smoothly when visitors arrive.
Step 8: WRAP UP
You can finally relax! Enjoy your expanded audience and touch base with the carnival owner to share your final observations.