Five Steps to Managing a Carnival: Policy and Action

I’ve been running a blog carnival for some time now, in fact, I have three Carnivals that I run right now. Over the past few months, I’ve learned a number of tips and tricks that make for a good carnival.

Five Tips for a successful carnival

#1. Your article must be unique (no articles from online article directories) and also must be previously unpublished in this carnival. All articles will be checked for originality.

I did this because I was getting numerous submissions from people who were just using articles from article directories. The result was that many of the submissions were already published in numerous places on the internet and wouldn’t add any value to this new carnival. Conceivably, it was also possible to get the SAME submission from different people – how would you choose?

#2. No spam or articles that are pitching something for sale. This is not an advertising carnival. Your article MAY, however, include advertising and affiliates as you wish…

I also received a lot of articles that were either blatantly or in some way disguised advertising software or whatnot. Since the article wasn’t useful to those who didn’t know the product (it was pitched at insiders), I simply hit the delete button. Spam.

#3. Please make sure that you aren’t posting irrelevant articles! Or if you think it’s relevant, or off-beat, highlight its relevance to this carnival.

Another trick was to submit articles that were on irrelevant topics, but worse the writer failed to tailor the submission to the particular carnival in the comments section. Sorry! You may borrow, beg and steal articles, and possibly get away with it, but submitting irrelevant articles is just dumb. The other greatest offender was the in-group post: it would refer to people, information, and blogs in passing, but the information was such that you had to be an insider to know what the hell they were talking about.

#4. No more than one submission will be accepted from an individual in one edition. One article per person/blog only. I like to maintain variety of sources and topics. Additional articles may be resubmitted in the next edition. Multiple submissions to the same blog will be deleted, possibly including the first instance. So submit ONE article from one blog once only.

When I started out doing carnivals at the end of 2007, I was happy to entertain several submissions from one writer, but I quickly got tired of dealing with those writers who were click happy. In fact, I had one writer submit six articles to my carnival last time. Of course, I nixed all of them without second thought. Why? Because if a writer can’t be bothered to check my carnival policy, then I couldn’t be bothered to check their submissions.

#5. Comments MUST be enabled on any post submitted to the carnival: I’m hoping that we generate interest in the submissions and that traffic generates comments. Let’s not frustrate our readers.

While others are free to run the carnival in their own way, I felt strongly that it was a BLOG carnival, hence those who didn’t permit comments on articles (for whatever reason) were abusing the notion of a BLOG carnival. Later on I tightened it to include blogs that also required registering to comment. There is no reason for that step nowadays. A blog post is designed to elicit comments, why should you stop people from commenting?

The Blog Carnival Process: From submission to publication – in brief

To process the carnival submissions, I take a number of steps and it usually whittles down the 65 submissions considerably.

  • 1. Copy entire list of submissions to Excel, then rank them by name. Duplicates and multiple submissions are immediately weeded out. (20% gone).
  • 2. The remaining number are then uploaded as an unpublished post, and checked one by one.
  • 3. Out go those that are completely irrelevant. Out also go those that aren’t blogs (or don’t permit comments). (35%).
  • 4. Of the remaining, I then vet those for being articles from directories. Out go those that are discovered to be so. (10%)
  • 5. Usually by this stage, only about 35% of the articles are remaining. I’ve nixed most of the weaker articles, and those that break the guidelines.
  • 6. It’s at this point that I really read the remaining candidates, and approve or remove those that are dull, too insular, uinformative or poorly written. I don’t mind if the writers don’t include comments, so I’ll add those. (10%)
  • 7. I also visit the blogs and leave comments on each accepted article.
  • 8. Then I tidy up the submissions, by categorizing them, adding my own commentary where I need to, and choosing the best or recommended articles.

This process usually works quite well, but I’m always sad at having to leave out more than a couple of good articles or posts for various silly reasons. While I don’t have the same policy across all my carnivals, the bigger ones are usually much more strict. And it works.

The last carnival had only 17 published submissions, and in future I may only publish 10 or 12 submissions, because I want to create a quality carnival, or at least, one that doesn’t waste readers’ time.

You can visit my carnivals at:

Carnival of Making REAL Money Blog and Dot Com Carnival. You can also find out much more at BlogCarnival itself.

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