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Attention budding authors: This Tampa startup can help make your publishing dreams a reality

by Jamie Miller

Last week, Ready Chapter 1 (RC1), a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform out of Tampa, Florida, expanded its mission to change how writers bring new stories into the world. The startup company empowers both aspiring and experienced writers through its new constructive critique forum, known as the Peer Critique Forum. 

“At RC1, we designed a crowdsourced critique system where all 49 million [aspiring novelists] can get the feedback they need, not from AI but from fellow writers. And not just “Hey, this was cool” feedback, but aggregated analytics on critical elements of writing craft like Voice, Character Development, Plot, and more,” said founder Fred Keohler.

The Ready Chapter 1 platform is built to encourage growth through an intentional community and collaboration. Users are able to post one chapter or section at a time into a designated category, either as themselves or anonymously, to an audience of all experience levels, from pre-published to multi-published writers. The system does not allow a user to post additional content without giving feedback to others in the community to ensure it is a true “give to receive” critique environment.

Founder Fred Koehler

The feedback is consolidated into a “Story Scores™”, the platform’s “superpower,” according to Koehler. This score breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of each chapter based on the community’s feedback. 

Writers can mobilize these learnings with the Total Story Accelerator training, a complete story curriculum that develops manuscripts to become ready-for-market products. These online masterclasses cover every critical element of writing craft and provide the opportunity to focus on specific weaknesses identified with the Story Score. In this way, writers can directly develop that skill.

The ultimate goal of RC1’s tools is to give writers better odds when taking their work to market. In the publishing industry, where there is a 99% rejection rate, RC1 has already seen impressive results since their launch. 

“Our BETA cohort took 60 students through the story accelerator curriculum. Of those 60, we’ve had one student, Jake Flukiger, land an agent and one student, Christy Swift, land a two book deal with a major publisher. Statistically, we’re crushing the [industry’s] rejection average,” said Koehler.



In addition to being a powerful tool for writers, RC1 can be useful for the other side of the industry.

“To this day, many agents and editors decide on whether or not to represent or license a manuscript based on a gut feeling. But we can do so much better with good data. When RC1 presents our writers’ stories alongside the thousands of data points that create our Story Scores™, we’re discovering new talent and de-risking the time and financial investment for everyone in the IP licensing equation,” said Koehler.

The team aims to partner with publishers in the future to provide a consistent flow of market-ready IP using their exclusive Story Score™ system technology. 

Their current business model is based on the income produced from the Total Story Accelerator program, which relies on the growth of the platform’s user base. The viral media attention that RC1 pitch contests and the free Pitch Critique Forum have had are continuing to bring new users to the forum daily.

Prior to launch, the RC1 platform and product offerings were brought to life with $225,000 raised from the Lakeland Venture Group out of Catapult Lakeland. The team is still looking to raise ~$150K this round to continue their growth and are actively seeking strategic partners with ties to publishing.



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