Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 17, 2021

September Agent of the Month – Keely Boeving Interview – Part Two

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.



Would you have a sample of a good query letter or a link to one you saw on the Internet?

I’m sorry, I don’t have a great sample.

Do you have any tips on how to find comps of book to use in a query letter?

Read! You have to be reading in your genre—know what’s out there, what’s upcoming, what authors your target audience is reading. If you have one good comp, go on Amazon and see what suggested titles they offer when you look it up. Often these will point you in the direction of similar comp titles.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

Really great writing! An original idea—and convince me why it’s original and why it’s needed. And show me that you’ve been honing your craft. Have you published elsewhere, are you a member of SCBWI, what else can you tell me about the work you’ve put in to this?

Will you let people know if you are not interested in their submission?

I try to, but unfortunately the number of queries we receive prevents us from responding to every one. Our agency policy is that if you haven’t heard back after eight weeks, you can consider it a “no.”

After you request more of a book, how long do you think it will take to respond?

I try to review materials fairly quickly, but it all depends on my workload and what I’m reviewing. If it’s a full middle grade novel, it will be several weeks or a month; if it’s a nonfiction proposal or a shorter picture book, I’ll respond in a week or two.

Do you have any pet peeves, yet?

Spelling my name wrong, or writing in the name of another agent! And telling me that you’ve written a mega-bestseller that will undoubtedly be a major motion picture and sell millions of copies. Having realistic expectations of your work and the publishing process is important.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

They don’t always look carefully at submissions guidelines or read up on what we’re looking for. I frequently get pitches for books in genres I don’t represent.

In terms of the actual writing, I think dialogue is something that can really trip writers up. That’s something I focus on: does the dialogue read naturally? Does this give me a good sense of the characters and their relationship? Is it appropriate to the age, time, place of the character?

 What are your feelings about prologues?

Prologues can be great if done well! It really depends on the project. If it serves a purpose, such as setting up the framing of the book or piquing our interest about what’s to come later in the novel, great. If the novel would be better served by just jumping into chapter 1, then there’s no need to add a prologue for the sake of having one.

For nonfiction books, an Introduction is almost always necessary.

Do you have a place where you keep writers up-to-date on what you would like to see? Blog?

I have a website——which I update on occasion. I’m also listed on, and I periodically update what I’m looking for on the WordServe website,

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Absolutely. I see this as one of the key places I can add value as an agent. I work with my clients on manuscripts, sample chapters, and proposals from day one; we won’t send anything out on submission until we both feel that it’s in the best place possible, and has the best chance to sell.




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,


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