Fri 14 Jun 2024 1:10PM

Looking for people to found a writers' platform co-op

FP Frank Podmore Public Seen by 149

Apologies if this isn't the right place to ask, but somewhere else on the site it said to check here if someone had already had my idea, so I'm just going to go for it!

I want to start a platform co-op for writers. It would blend elements of Substack, Novlr (a SaaS for fiction writing) and QueryTracker (a site which lets you share and critique drafts of your work with other writers). Other than being a co-op, the KSPs will be (1) the focus on fiction and (2) writing with and for a community.

What I need in the first instance to get this up and running is people, so I thought I'd ask here firstly if anyone's interested in getting involved and, secondly, if anyone can recommend anywhere else for networking with people who'd see the merits of this kind of idea.



Sam Whited Fri 14 Jun 2024 1:22PM

I'd love to get involved and help with this!

I was using Novlr until, paradoxically, they announced that they were transitioning to a co-op model. I may be very wrong about this, so please don't take my word for it, but after talking to them about it I wasn't entirely convinced that they were actually going to give the authors any power, it sounded like co-op washing (but again, I never got a clear picture of what was going on from their emails and it may have just been that it was early days and they were still unsure themselves so it came off as not really being properly a co-op; if anyone else knows otherwise I'd love to hear from them).


Frank Podmore Tue 18 Jun 2024 6:43PM

@Sam Whited I've heard a few people had similar experiences with Novlr, oddly! It should definitely be possible to do better than them, firts by being a co-op from the start and second by having a clear model for the writers to actually earn some money!


Bret A Warshawsky Fri 14 Jun 2024 2:21PM

I might be interested-- I have a substack-- add me to an email list if you get that far or my # for whatsapp and telegram etc

[email protected]



Nicholas Frealand Fri 14 Jun 2024 6:57PM

I've shared this with cooperativism-sympathetic writing friends - good luck!

Really interesting to hear the phrase 'co-op washing' - a first for me, but something I have wondered about.


Sam Whited Tue 18 Jun 2024 7:00PM

@Nicholas Frealand I first heard it used in reference to REI (big outdoor camping store that was originally a collective purchasing co-op in the 30s when it was founded, then became a consumer co-op, and now has transitioned to being a normal retail store that doesn't do anything cooperative but uses the co-op part prominently in their branding while removing all power from the consumer and not allowing them to vote on anything or even bring resolutions before the board).


Nicholas Frealand Tue 18 Jun 2024 8:00PM

@Sam Whited

That sounds like a fairly 'organic' process towards misusing the term. But I wonder about current day start ups using the term liberally with an intent to capture a wider market.

Perhaps similarly to how the term 'community' can be used..


spirit Fri 14 Jun 2024 9:24PM

I am interested to collaborate possibly. I’d have to hear more about your idea though first :)


Frank Podmore Tue 18 Jun 2024 6:44PM

@spirit Great! I will try and post some updates here when I have some more details ironed out


Billy Smith Sat 15 Jun 2024 7:46AM

It's a good idea.

There are already profitable websites out there doing this that are privately-held/VC-funded.

Using a co-operative means that the writers who are doing the work share the profit. :D

Places that would be worth asking include:


A Mastodon instance used by professional sci-fi authors to talk with their fans.

Also from Mastodon, Dan Fixes Coin Ops has been running an online text-based browser game, along with managing the extended community of participants, for over 15 years. :D

He has a lot to say about running this, and is very open about the mistakes that he made, and the lessons learned. :D

Most relevant thread starts here:


He's been happy to share ideas and experiences. :D

Another author worth listening to, is Patrick E. McLean.

While his books are great, his bread'n'butter work comes from writing communications for industry, so he has a lot of good ideas and practices for professional writing. He would have some good advice.


If i think of anyone else relevant, i'll drop a line here. :D


Frank Podmore Tue 18 Jun 2024 6:44PM

@Billy Smith Great suggestions, thank you!

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