Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lookin' For A Little Help

I'm looking for a little help from my fellow genealogy bloggers. As you may know, last year I participated in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) contest. It takes place in November every year. I'm hoping to do this again this year and November is fast approaching. I have an idea of what I plan to write about but I'll leave that for another post. What I want to talk about here is getting some help with the Carnival of Genealogy for the month of November.

I know from past experience that I won't have much time for additional writing or research once I get close to the start date and throughout the contest. It will take up all of my free time for a solid month which means I won't be able to put together three Carnival editions, the November 1st, November 15th, and December 1st editions. So I'm asking for volunteers to host those editions of the Carnival on their blogs.

In theory, blog carnivals are designed to be rotated among hosts. The BlogCarnival.com web site explains about this and is set up to designate who will host each edition of a given carnival. It was my intention from the time I started the carnival to get it up and running and then hopefully get others to take turns hosting some editions of it. I've just finished the 8th edition of the Carnival and with each edition the readership has grown (thanks to all of you who have promoted it and linked to it from your blogs!). If you host it, you will help drive more readership to your blog.

Let me tell you a little bit of what's involved in putting each edition together... at least the way I do it. Roughly two weeks in advance of the publishing date I submit a call for submissions at the end of the previous edition of the Carnival blog post and on the blogcarnival.com web site. I pick a deadline, a publishing date (I give myself 3-4 days after the deadline to put it together), and a topic. Then I create a "notebook" for the topic on Google Notebook where I collect blog posts and web sites on the topic over the next 2 weeks. I also set up an "alert" on Google to have information on the topic delivered to me via email and store it in a folder. Any articles submitted via the submission link on Carnival posts or the blogcarnival.com web site will also be delivered to me via email. I put all of these in the folder also.

Once the deadline has passed, I dig into my folder and Google Notebook and begin sifting through all the information I've accumulated. Sometimes I end up with more information than I can use, other times I end up having to do some additional searches. Then I cull through it all for the "best" pieces to feature in the Carnival. There is no set number of blog posts or web sites to feature. I just go with those that stand out and give a good variety of coverage to the subject. It usually takes me 2-3 hours to do this. Then I begin putting the Carnival together in my blog software (there is a rough template to start you off at the blogcarnival.com web site). It usually takes me another 1.5 hrs or so to do this (I'm fussy but you don't have to be).

Anyone volunteering to host a Carnival edition can choose their topic and date and can put it together any way they want to. There's no reason you couldn't assemble it throughout the two weeks and have nothing to do but hit the "post" button at the end. The only stipulation is it has to keep to the general topic of genealogy.

Just for reference, the topics already covered in the Carnival were:
  1. Technology
  2. Ethnic Genealogy
  3. Immigration
  4. Family Reunions
  5. Historical Fiction
  6. Genealogical Societies
  7. Writing a Family History
  8. Family Photos
You can choose to repeat one of these topics if you think you have enough new information to make it interesting. Or choose something new to tackle.

If you are interested, please comment at the bottom of this post or email me privately (link to my email is in my profile).