Pay Attention to Everything

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Hey gang! I feel like it's been forever since I last updated or added anything of value on here. :)
 Well, more like 3 months, but hey, 3 months feels like forever in Wattpad land.

A lot has happened since then and WP must have changed their algorithm several times since I last said anything about this. This leads me to the conclusion that I won't always be around to provide insights and certainly won't always be able to continue to do so in a timely manner.

What I want to give everyone here is a framework for understanding how to look at changes that Wattpad makes and how to take a practical mental model of this, that you can then use to make your own discoveries about how you can better promote your book.

About a month or so ago, there was a serious, serious flaw in the algorithm that I discovered, but didn't blow the whistle on. What is the serious flaw and why didn't I tell everyone? Let's start with the second question first. Here at CTWC, we're all about giving people out of the box ideas on how to promote their books.

BUT, and this is a big BUT (but not a big BUTT, that would be something of entirely epic proportions. Ha! I crack myself up. Crack? Get it? Let's put this BEHIND us shall we? Oh wait, I did another funny! LOL!) , this book is not about exploiting Wattpad and it's not about cheating and gaming the system. I try and walk a fine line, but in the end, I try and keep exploits and abusive/intrusive tactics away from this guide. So no matter what I find, I won't reveal really bad exploits. In fact, I'll probably alert Wattpad to it before I tell anyone else about it.

Fair enough?

Well, now that's I've made that clear, I can now reveal the exploit because it has in fact, been fixed for a while now. But it's fun to talk about in the context of what I'm about to show everyone.

Ok, that said, here's what the exploit was: for a very limited time, Wattpad was counting ANY changes made to a book as an UPDATE. In other words, I could make an update on my book's last chapter, like "LOL! I love bananas", hit save, remove the line I just added, and hit save again, and Wattpad would consider my book to be "updated". Why is this a serious flaw? Because updating a book is one of the largest things that factor into the ranking algorithm.

In techie geek-speak, "spiking" an algorithm is any act that causes the algorithm to re-evaluate its rankings. You do this by either sending a large wave of data for an algorithm to process (Fridays? Wednesdays? Remember you guys?) or by finding something it really, really likes, and giving it that again and again.

Well, what this flaw does, is it provides whoever uses the exploit with an unlimited way to spike the algorithm. Using this, one could pretty much spike it as often as they wanted to get rank to rise. Needless to say, this was really, really bad. So I didn't tell anyone about it. Shortly after I discovered it, I stopped using it. (Well okay, I used it one more time on CWTC just for fun, LOL!). Did anyone notice my books were ranking well for a while last month despite the fact I wasn't updating? This is what the title of this chapter involves. HAD you been PAYING ATTENTION, you probably would have caught this, same as I.

Now, I discourage any and all forms of gaming and "spiking" an algorithm and all that. But what I do encourage is a healthy amount of curiosity in anything and everything, because not only does this make you a better promoter, it makes you a better writer.

Full Disclosure: You can spike an algorithm all you want, but nothing will make your book popular if it doesn't "have it". So promotion and finding ways to stand out is only part of the story. But it's still a very important part of the story.

But Mike, you will argue, everyone's paying attention. I watch my reads and do a spreadsheet everyday. I would agree with you, but would it surprise you to know I don't track my own reads with a spreadsheet? So what then, is Mike paying attention to that allows me to discover all these things?

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