Letter from the Author #70: An Autumn full of challenges | La Marca de Odín

Letter from the Author #70: An Autumn full of challenges

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Dear #MarkedbyOdin, we are just leaving summer behind and welcoming autumn, although the heat is still tightening in Seville. A month and a half have passed since the last letter and we have to share what we have done in these intense weeks and what is looming on the horizon. Let's see what this time has given of itself!

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October events and international expansion

If we were in a normal year, today I would be telling you that I am preparing to travel in two weeks to the Frankfurt Book Fair. But no, we are not living normal times. The Covid19 pandemic is still more present than ever, in Spain it seems that it has barely subsided, and it has greatly affected all expansion plans and the organization of events.

That is why it is necessary to renew or die. Hence, this year the Frankfurt Book Fair has decided to adapt to the special circumstances in which we live, with serious restrictions on international movement. Thus, in this edition all international publishers and professionals will be able to participate but virtually, as digital exhibitors, instead of having to be there in person. It is not ideal, but at least this way we can try to continue with the relationships established last year and create new ones with agents and publishers with whom we have not yet had the opportunity to do so.

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It will be difficult for me to match last year's marathon, with 63 meetings in three days, but I will do my best to continue raising awareness Mark of Odin and see options and synergies to expand the books and intellectual property to new regions and Languages. In this sense, we announced last Friday that I will also attend the Festival of Licensing. In this relevant international event, I hope to contact agencies specialized in adding value and expanding intellectual properties. As this is the first time that I’ll “attend”, I hope to at least learn a lot from the experience and from the conversations I may have.

The effects of the pandemic

As all of you are suffering, the pandemic is still here and its effects, both social and economic, are becoming more and more noticeable. The first conclusion that I can share with you is that the pandemic is offering opportunities for online businesses, but also increasing the challenges exponentially. Since the summer we have been able to notice a negative impact on consumption, opposed to an excessive increase in competition when it comes to reaching new users.

Everyone is focusing their efforts on the online channel, especially social media. Which is skyrocketing the costs, which to give you an idea they have doubled and even tripled if we compare with those of a few months or a year ago.

Most of you already know that we mainly use social media to make ourselves known. Twitter continues to be our main platform for direct reach, while Facebook and Instagram are for our paid marketing actions. In recent weeks it has become clear that it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to compete, even increasing resources and efforts.

That is why I have been in the position of redirecting our strategy, reducing the importance we give to Facebook and Instagram in September and, quite possibly, October as well. In return, we are preparing a new surprise marketing action, which we hope you will see very soon and which we hope will provide better results than the current ones.

According to the data we gather, we will study how to plan the Christmas campaign this year. The pandemic is messing everything and there are opportunities to achieve a dominant position but also many more risks. Obviously, it is essential for us to get new readers to arrive every month in order to maintain the production rate that we would like.

Audiobooks

Last month I was able to give you the big surprise that we are going to produce audiobooks of the entire universe of Mark of Odin. This section has been one of the ones that has kept me busiest these weeks. I have to clarify that you have to be patient to have it all, since we are talking about a complex and laborious process. As I said, we were going to publish the content in English first. I can tell you that his production is on the right track. We already have the recordings of more than half of the first book and if all goes well, I hope we can publish it before the end of October.

To give you an idea. The process is the following. We pass the adapted texts to be narrated. Once we receive the audios of each chapter, we edit them to join them. We are working right now with two British voices. After joining them we make the final edition in which we are going to incorporate music. And as an image or an audio is better than a thousand words, I leave you the prologue test below, in English.

If all goes well, also in October we hope to have the three bonus chapters and in November the Odinpedia content. Once we have the English part ready, we will move on to the Spanish version, which will also go through phases. As it takes a long time, it is impossible for me to run the English and Spanish versions in parallel. But hey, in a few months I hope we can catch up and it will become commonplace that when we share new content, you also have it available audibly.

Why give priority to the English version if the majority of readers here are Spanish? Well, it was a strategic decision. With regard to our international expansion, it is very important to be able to strengthen our position as much as possible, since in this area I have much less strength than in Spain to make ourselves known. That is why being able to also enter the audiobook market can give us greater visibility.

At the moment, the idea is that you can directly download the audiobooks for each bonus book and chapter. While the audios of the contents will be available to be heard from the page of each story. At least that's how it will be in the first version of this system. Depending on the feedback and technical data we obtain, we will see whether to continue like this or look for other formulas.

Extended contents

As you have already noticed, we have decided to delay the publication of extended content. In this 2020 I promised to offer you a new story a week and we have maintained a brutal pace. That strategy fit into my plans to have been able to begin final production on the third book earlier this summer. Covid19 has changed everything and seeing my external workload it becomes clear that everything is going to be delayed. That is why I prefer to start a longer rhythm to be dosing stories and that you can have new content periodically and not stay long without anything new.

I will try to share new stories every 2-3 weeks, so that you have at least one new content per month. Be careful, all this is subject to change if I manage to free up time and also resources to be able to produce content that is paralyzed.

In these weeks we have been able to share the stories of:

  • Gud: The decisive
  • María Luces: Determination
  • Gunnar: The Unstoppable

While we still have to publish the stories of:

  • Rota: The Shadowy
  • Hilda: The Insightful
  • Sigrún: The Swift
  • Thruda: The smiling one
  • Harlequin: The Fruit of Eden

As I said, there are more pending stories, including the first result of the incredible collaboration that we are preparing with the great singer Milena Brody. I hope that we can pull through as many as possible regardless of when I can fully focus on the third book, Ragnarok.

Looking for a Cloning Center

Surely more than one of you have ever wished that you could clone yourself or that the day double its hours. So am I. And it is that I continue at full speed with the projects of Megapop Games. Focused on boosting my latest video game, Haxity. Just this week we released a complete redesign to focus on its competitive fighting mode so that it can be enjoyed more agile and direct. If you like fighting and card games, in a Cyberpunk city, I encourage you to take a look.

We are also continuing to prepare the final release of Trolls vs Vikings 2 and the new game concept. What if I told you that it could have been inspired by Mark of Odin? Of course, in addition to all the aforementioned, I am still behind the scenes trying to reach new avenues that allow us to take a giant leap with Mark of Odin. And all this with all the personal problems that this pandemic and its restrictions entail. But as I said last month... Resilience to power!

We can beat 2020!

I want to finish encouraging all of you. No matter how black the horizon seems (and just watching the news every day it’s clear that is a demoralizing one) we must be strong and resist. We will move forward and survive this dismal 2020.

Of course, thank you all for your support. You have no idea how important it is every time you share your impressions with us, what you feel with the books. That is the other great fuel that allows us to continue working through thick and thin.

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Therefore, I encourage you to continue sharing your impressions of the books, not only in the Opinions section, but also on external platforms such as Amazon, Google Play, Apple, Kobo, Lektu or Goodreads . Why? Having a good evaluation and opinions there helps us a lot to attract new readers. Each new #MarkedbyOdin here is a step forward to reach the next phase. And yes, I am also very excited to have you on Discord so that we can unite our community more and share everything you want about the books or everything that may interest you. Thank you very much!

Remember, everything is connected.

Xavier Marcé

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