Keating was born in Beverly, MA, on December 3, 1984 to Cynthia and Edward Keating. He spent the majority of his childhood in Providence, Rhode Island, and attended high school at Mount St. Charles Academy, where he graduated in 2003. From there, he attended Wagner College, where he majored in English and minored in theater. He was a member of the Wagner Seahawks track and field team, competing most frequently in 1500m and 800m events, and published the college's long-standing literary journal, Nimbus, for his junior and senior years. After college, he returned to Rhode Island, where he began studies at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, earning the master in business administration degree in 2010. The final year of his MBA studies overlapped with his first year at the University of Baltimore's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing program, and he completed his MFA in 2012. His master thesis, a manuscript titled Participants, was picked up for publication by independent publisher Thumbnail Press and released on December 3, 2012, Keating's 27th birthday.
He now lives in Billings, Montana.
Keating considers his work as a publisher to be more important than his work as a writer. In the fall of 2012, he launched Cobalt Review, a quarterly online literary journal which also releases an annual print issue. He spoke to Becky Tuch, publisher of The Review Review, stating that "there is nothing that we aren't interested in [at Cobalt]" and that he seeks to publish work that will "make us think, make us feel". It is in the same interview that Keating discusses an interview series that he carried on for two years, "The Publisher Series," in which he conducted interviews with small and independent presses that are "focused on the writer, and what the writer can expect from the process of working with a publisher – particularly on their first book."
While he is Cobalt's publisher and managing editor, Keating has often stated that he does not interfere with selecting content for the quarterly journal, leaving that up to editors Rafe Posey (fiction), Samantha Stanco (nonfiction) and Tabitha Surface (poetry). However, in spring of 2013, Keating announced the first-annual baseball-themed issue to be released in July of each year, which he curated. The first issue included interviews that he conducted with authors Stewart O'Nan and Frank Deford, as well as a collection of poetry, fiction and essays that were listed in competing tables of contents, much like a lineup card for a baseball game. In addition to the baseball issue, Keating was responsible for the majority of the publication's author interviews, which included conversations with Steve Almond, Greg Olear, Mat Johnson, Michael Kimball, Nicola Griffith, Matt Bell, and others.
Keating announced the launch of Cobalt Press, the book publishing imprint to be associated with Cobalt Review, in the summer of 2013, signing a publishing agreement with authors Dave Housley, BL Pawelek, Ben Tanzer and Tom Williams to produce a collection of fiction and poetry called Four Fathers. The book is scheduled for release on June 1, 2014.
Keating's first book of fiction, a collection of short stories, was released in 2012 from Thumbnail Press. The title, Participants, takes its name from the first story in the collection, which is about a young man making ends meet by participating in scientific research programs. Several works from the collection had been previously published in various literary journals, including "Davis Field", "Potential Energy", and "Accept/Decline".
Shortly after the release of Participants, Keating published an essay about writing the book on Stymie Magazine's website, stating, "I do not like writing essays about writing. The closest I come to an answer for why I write is to say: 'I write fiction because I sucked something awful as a poet.' This, of course, is true."
The book was received well, though it was not heavily publicized. Michael Kimball, author of Big Ray called it "a clever, charming and heartfelt debut." Matt Bell, author of In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods wrote that "The characters in Participants are often discomfited and nervous, and make nothing look easy - and yet what is revealed by their actions is not so much their struggles, but rather the always-hopeful hearts that Keating has set beating inside them."
In a review for JMWW, Scott Carpenter likened Keating to "a panel of experimenters putting a dummy in a car and crashing it repeatedly into a wall to test its integrity." Carpenter went on to add that "Mr. Keating's dexterity and his unusual soft touch—a sense of rewarding his characters' persistence by persisting in giving their struggles a variety of forms—give these stories a collective arc perhaps unusual to short story collections. Also unusual, at a time when promiscuity and sexuality almost never fail to invade a work of fiction, is the book's innocence, of lonely but still gentlemanly protagonists, of men dissatisfied with life but still docile." Joe Ransom of Switchback, wrote of the collection: "Correctly, Keating observes that in daily life and places of work, moments of unpredictability do not always resemble Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire stomping around a bewildered office."