Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 10, 2021

Agent of the Month – Interveiw with Keely Boeving – Part One

Keely Boeving is an Agent with WordServe Literary. After receiving her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia, she went on to attend the Denver Publishing Institute and then began her career in New York working in the editorial department at Oxford University Press, where she acquired books for the trade history list. She moved back to Colorado in 2014 and began her own freelance editorial company before joining WordServe in 2016. She lives in Denver with her husband and their twins. You can find out more about her editorial work at

She is passionate about partnering with clients to develop books that connect with readers, find success with publishers, delight our imaginations, and create real change in the world. She is drawn to books that bring new ideas and voices to the table, change our perspectives, and broaden our experiences.

In the children’s market: Keely represents select picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She represents a wide range of genres and subjects and loves stories that feature characters who are quirky and complex. She is drawn to contemporary stories that take on perennial questions in a new way, excite the imagination, and allow children to see themselves in the book’s pages, perhaps for the first time.

For Non-fiction Books: Keely is looking for well-researched nonfiction books in the areas of health and wellness, business, parenting and family life, social justice, and religious studies; as well as projects from diverse and under-represented voices and is also seeking narrative nonfiction and memoir, and occasionally represents smart, well-crafted contemporary and literary fiction.

For the Christian market: She is seeking books in the areas of Christian Living, spiritual transformation, devotion and worship, and women’s topics including motherhood, relationships and marriage, work-life balance, and calling. She represents a wide range of genres and subjects, particularly in the areas of Christian living, spiritual transformation, the intersection of faith and culture, physical and mental health, embodiment, social justice, business and entrepreneurship, and motherhood, parenting, and family life. She is always seeking projects from diverse and under-represented voices.


What made you get your B.A. in English from the University of Virginia?

I knew that I wanted to study English, because I’d loved books my whole life. UVA had a great program, and once I saw the campus on my first trip to Charlottesville, I was sold.

Did you know you wanted to become an agent before attending the Denver Publishing Institute?

I knew I wanted to become an editor—so after finishing the course, I moved to New York and worked as an intern for Bloomsbury and then as an editorial assistant and eventually assistant editor at Oxford University Press. The Denver Publishing Institute program introduced me to a number of wonderful editors and contacts in the publishing world, and reaffirmed my desire to go into the industry.

What made you decide to move back to Colorado after moving to NYC?

I grew up in Denver and have lots of family here. My husband was ready for a break from NYC, and we knew we wanted to be close to family when we had kids. With great weather and access to the mountains, it was a natural place to end up!

How did you get the job with WordServe Literary Agency?

After moving back to Denver, I worked as a freelance editor and copyeditor for a while. Eventually, I knew I wanted something more consistent, and I began exploring what kinds of publishing jobs existed in the Denver area. I got connected to WordServe and started essentially as the executive assistant to the president. Before too long, I was representing clients of my own.

Do you have a limit on number of clients you will represent?

I try to keep my client list to a size where I can give really close, personal attention to every project, and be available for my clients in whatever capacity they need. There isn’t a firm number; more of a feel for what my workload is over the course of each month.

Any story or themes you wish someone would submit?

I love that we’re seeing more books that reflect the diversity of our world. It’s important for kids to see themselves in the pages of the books they read, and I’m particularly interested in books with neurodiverse characters and books that explore questions of mental health in interesting and nuanced ways.

Which do you lean more towards: Literary or Commercial?

I look for that sweet spot in the middle—beautiful writing but with a hook that really grabs you.

Do you think it is okay for an author to write novels and picture books? Or do you feel it is better to focus on one age group and genre?

I think authors should start with their focus on one area, but you can certainly cross over into other genres or age groups in later books. It’s important to make your name and find your audience first, and then there can be room to grow.

What do you like to see in a submission?

I like to see a strong hook that catches my interest; information about the author (have you written before? What are the strongest points of your platform or bio? Give me a sense that you come to play.); and great sample pages.

How important is the query letter?

Extremely important. This makes or breaks whether I’m going to request more material, and I’m reading dozens each week. Your has to shine.



In the subject line, please write “SEPTEMBER 2021 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2021 September  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED! Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.

Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Sending it to my hotmail account will probably keep me from seeing it and including you in the running.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.



Talk tomorrow,




  1. Great interview! I love the Denver area, Keely. Thanks for sharing with us!


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