Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 24, 2021

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

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.



Do you have any plans to represent a children’s book illustrator? Would an illustrator have to write before you would represent them?

I represent several illustrators, although they are all author/illustrators. Ideally I’m looking for illustrators who also write, but I do negotiate illustration-only contracts for some of my clients.  I’m not seeking out sole illustrators at this time.

How do you like to communicate (email vs. phone)? And how often do you communicate during the submission process? 

Email is my main form of communication, but I’m on the phone with clients every day as well. Text message, too. Basically I want to work with clients in whatever manner works best for them. I like to have frequent communication, so that everyone knows where we are in the process and we’re all on the same page. I pass along all responses I get from editors during the submission process to my clients, and I’m frequently in touch with them about how things are going and whether we need to adjust our approach.

What happens if you don’t sell a book and the author wants to self-publish a book? Would you be okay with that?

Absolutely. I don’t want to prevent anyone from getting their book out into the world. My primary goal is to sell your work, but if we aren’t successful in doing that, I support authors in taking whatever route they want in order to make sure their work gets out there.

Do you seek help from other agents at your agency to get suggestions on editors and/or publishers to submit to for the clients you sign up to represent?

On occasion. I have been very lucky to be mentored by WordServe’s president, Greg Johnson, who helped me learn the business and gave a lot of insight early on as far as which editors and publishers to approach with which projects. Now I have strong personal relationships with a large number of editors, so I usually have a sense of where I want to send things, but I always ask my colleagues if I’m unsure or feel like someone might have insight on a specific project. We’re a very open, collaborative agency in that way.

Would you ever send a manuscript to another agent at WordServe if it was good, but not your style?

Not typically. In general, if I’m turning down a project, it’s not right for me, and I don’t necessarily have an idea in mind of who it would be right for. I’m not in close contact with other agencies about what they’re looking for, and I don’t want to steer people in the wrong direction. I also don’t want to pass projects along to colleagues that didn’t meet the mark in my opinion.

What do you think of digital and audio books? Are they part of every sale these days?

Absolutely. Audio books continue to gain a larger share of the market, and I consider them essential. The same is true of ebooks, of course. While these formats don’t sell as well in the children’s market as they do in the adult, they still do make up a portion of sales, and I think almost every book should have an ebook and audio book released simultaneously, where possible.

Do you handle your own foreign/film rights contracts or does your firm have someone else who handles those contracts? 

We handle film rights for our clients. We have a number of contacts in the industry, and we partner with producers, packagers, and others to get projects optioned and made.

Any words of wisdom on how a writer can improve their writing, secure an agent, and get published?

Writing is improved by working your craft. Keep writing, keep taking workshops and participating in writers groups, work with an editor to develop the manuscript further. When it comes to securing an agent, it’s about doing your research—figuring out which agents are right for you and what they want to see—and building your platform. We want to know that you’re the real deal. And keep reading! Know what’s out there, know what’s not being said, and consider how you can add something new to the landscape. I’m always looking for new ideas and fresh spins on concepts I’ve seen before. Surprise me!

Would you like to attend other conferences, workshops writer’s retreats?

I attend a fair number of conferences, most of them online at the current moment. I enjoy participating in them but also have to balance how much time and energy I spend at conferences / traveling versus being in my office and getting the work done. I do love to meet with aspiring authors, though, and I’m always happy to take pitch meetings—you just never know what might come out of them. I love getting to talk with creative people who are passionate about their work—which is why I love this job so much.




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. 

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! Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: