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When Things Don’t Go As Planned

(Photo of Lulu because she's cute.)

As per usual, I'm here to tell you about the grand plans I had that failed. Lol. I mean, would you expect anything less of me?

Maybe 2023 was my year of “delusions of grandeur” because things had been working out so well with the AI business. Really, I couldn't be happier, and I think it's because I got back into technology that marries so well with creativity. The two are what I love the most, so it's not surprising I flourished there.

But you know what else I really like? Fandoms. I'm a huge fan of Star Wars and Star Trek and The Expanse and Bridgerton and many more and all of these awesome shows and properties that foster a lot of fans. Silly me, I thought, “Hey, there may be some fans of MY work out there that would like a subscription-only community!” I saw how this was benefitting a lot of authors and thought it might work well for me, too.

Alas, that did not turn out to be the case. I started a Ream subscription community back in December, and although I got a bunch of followers pretty quickly, my subscription did not grow. Yes, maybe I should have given it longer than 6 months to work. A year, two, ten? Maybe then I would get somewhere?

But I just can't anymore. I can't do endless work on the promise of “maybe.” I'm nearing 50 years old, and I'm tired. I already work every day. I haven't taken a day off since Christmas Day. I hate to admit it, but I'm burned out. I need a break.

Here's what you can expect going forward from me:

1. I will not be taking on any further speaking engagements for the rest of 2024. My work from now on is solely focused on the Future Fiction Academy, Brave New Bookshelf, my own writing, and a new project I have in the works with two of my FFA colleagues. If you need someone to speak to your writing group about AI, I highly recommend viewing the AI videos we have on the Future Fiction Academy YouTube channel. A bunch of us have done these presentations to writing groups and there's now plenty of information online for people to make the decision of what to do or not do with AI. I don't need to be involved in the decision making process.

2. In reference to point 1 above, I have shut down my AI Fiction Coach website and now that is pointing to Future Fiction Academy. The articles I had on AI Fiction Coach have been reproduced on Notion, and I have redirected to them.

3. I will be winding down my S. J. Pajonas name to only one book per year after I'm done with the Amagi Series. And that one book per year will be my pace with this name going forward. It's my aim to finish writing that series this year. Then I will finish the Kimura Sisters Series as well. I'm unsure what to do with my fantasy romance series because, as much as I love it, I don't think it hits the market very well. I'm currently sitting on it.

4. I will be shutting down my paid Ream subscriptions and moving some of the content back to my website, though I will keep Ream around for discovery purposes. I believe in subscriptions, but they do not work for my SJP name. I also don't think my process or stories lend well to subscriptions, so this is the best possible move for me. I made this decision after seeing what people were doing at the awesome Subscriptions for Authors Summit (see my comments above about fandom). I believe subscriptions could work well for pen names of mine, so I don't think this is the last time I will be using Ream!

5. I will be writing under pen names in upcoming months so don't think that I've stopped writing! It's just time to shift focus. Originally, when I hit the 10-year mark as a published author, I thought I would double-down on my SJP name, and I realized sometime in the beginning of the year that I was falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy. It's time for me to stop throwing good money and energy after bad and move on. Don't feel bad! I don't. I learned a lot about publishing and writing, and I will put all of that to good use on other projects.

6. If you want to continue reading what I write, even if it's under a pen name in different genres, please let me know and I will hook you up with advanced reader copies. You can either comment on this post or use the contact form to let me know.

7. I plan to revive and continue to write cozy mysteries under Steph Gennaro. I think those will be coming in late 2025.

All of this is to say that I'm trying to focus on the things that work and mean something to me. I want to stop doing extra work just for the sake of holding things together that never really got me anywhere. I'm looking forward to all the joy of content creation I have in front of me!

S. J. Pajonas