Running a ficathon

So I think I'm going to run something like a ficathon, though maybe it's more like a challenge. And I'd love advice from those of you who've done it before and survived with sanity intact. Though possibly I can structure this for maximal fun and minimal stress, and reduce my role to something like a bookkeeper and cheerleader. I can do cheerleading.

I am thinking of doing something with one shared prompt for everybody, and a date after which I will start compiling a masterlist. Perhaps I would add optional challenges to the prompt, but the only real requirement is the single shared prompt. I don't think a deadline is useful; if somebody writes to the prompt a year after the date, I'll be happy.

What's the right way to promote without being spammy?
Where's the line between relaxed enough not to be stressful, and structured enough to be motivating?
Pointers to existing advice, helpful anecdotes, and primal screaming are all welcome.
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If you have one shared prompt and no deadline, then you've eliminated 99% of the headaches of running a ficathon, seriously. :)

And if there *isn't* a deadline, you have a little more leeway to stagger your pimping so that you're not running the risk of flooding someone's friends list.
I don't think I'd ever run a ficathon that wasn't the traditional fic exchange format, because that's the kind I strongly prefer writing for (I *like* writing to another person's request; I *like* writing to deadline, etc.); and I also have a brain that seems suited to administrivia, so I don't mind doing matchups/tracking down wandering authors/etc. I sometimes grumble a bit, but then again, it's good to have something trivial to grumble about from time to time.

But if you don't have to do matchups, and you don't have to track people down if they don't post, and you don't have to find backup writers... then yes, it's going to be a lot less work for you. :)
I'm thinking of people whom I'd like to coax into writing who would most likely be scared off by a more formal ficathon. Plus, I don't want to burn myself first time out by taking on more than I know how to do well. I think I can make this work!

(I'm also learning to like writing to requests! she says, as she heads off to try to finish her cya_ficathon story...)
I have nothing against more informal things--I was just saying that while I complain about the headaches they cause, I really wouldn't do anything else.
Do you know what kind of prompts you'll be using? I know nothing about running a ficathon, I'm just curious:)
I know exactly what prompt inspired this, yes :) Just the one. I might invent additional challenges to go along with it, but then again, I might not. The simplicity of the prompt is part of the fun.
I was thinking of doing a ficathon for New Year's where people can just choose prompts and write what they want.

If you want, we can work together on this. wide_rider was going to help me choose prompts for it.

Email me if you want to work together on this.