Working With the Industry: Meet Jr. Agent Hope Bolinger

Hello, friends! In the writing world, it’s good to know about the industry and the people who work there. Today, I interview Hope Bolinger, Jr. Agent at Hartline Literary Agency. You’ll enjoy hearing what she has to say in response to our thought-provoking questions–Jennifer

Writer journaling in a book

Hi, Hope! Please tell our readers, what is an agent’s purpose?

Hope: Essentially, being an agent boils down to two things: coach and cheerleader. We want to steer our clients in the best direction in the publishing industry. We pinpoint snags in contracts and try to help them attain the best deals possible for their books. We also want to be the author’s biggest advocate when approaching publishers. We don’t take on clients unless we love their work because we have to sell it again with equal or more vigor to the industry professionals who can help make their dreams become a reality.

How hard is it to be an agent in today’s publishing industry?

Hope: It’s difficult in the aspect that publishers are inundated with hundreds, thousands of manuscripts. Even as an agent, you have a lot of competition with other agents who are trying to help authors break into the industry. I will say it becomes easier the more you connect with editors at writing conferences and in one-on-one meetings. In the traditional publishing world, especially with the biggest houses, an agent is almost a  necessity.

What three things can a new author do to catch the attention of an agent?

Hope: Great question. I would boil it down to this:

(1) Meet the agent in person if possible. I remember the authors most who pitched to me at writer’s conferences or talked with me after a session. Follow-up emails from conferences are extremely helpful as well.

(2) Make that first page shine. I can usually tell by the first chapter whether or not the client would be a good fit. If the third chapter has good writing, but the first chapter or prologue (please don’t send us your prologues) is an information dump, we’re less inclined to want to take you on.

(3) Build platform before sending your books to us or to a publisher. Especially in nonfiction. It breaks my heart when I have a client with an excellent book, but the publisher turns it down because the author doesn’t have a large enough platform.

What three things can a new author do that will discourage an agent?

Hope: This will be harder to funnel into three main points, but I would say the number one problem I have is an author who comes off as a stalker. As agents, we look for authors who can strike a balance between professional and personal, but the latter half often seeps through more than the former. For instance, we’ve gotten love letters from queries before (even to some of our agents who are married.) 

Second, an author who swings to one of two extremes on platform. We have those who say, “I have no social media whatsoever.” And then we have authors who think they’re hot stuff. Show us all the platform you’ve accumulated, but don’t come off as arrogant or as if agents are doing you a favor. We want this to be a partnership that can last for several years, or even a lifetime.

Third, sending several emails to the agent at once. It’s best to send all the submission materials (Please don’t send all twelve of your books to us at once!) in one email. You can follow-up after 6-8 weeks, or whatever the certain agent has listed on his or her website. But agents receive literally hundreds of emails a day. If twelve of them are from you, they will be less inclined to take you on.

 5. Are you open for submissions? What are you looking for?

Hope: I am personally open for submissions (some of the agents at C.Y.L.E. are closed right now). I do a mix of fiction and nonfiction, but my sweet spots are YA (Young Adult), MG (Middle Grade),  Historical (especially anything ancient), Thriller, and Humor. I’m especially looking to sell in the ABA markets (American Bookseller Association.) Please no memoir (unless you have a significant platform), horror, self-published books, poetry, stage plays, or erotica. If you have a submission you think would be a good fit, send a query to

Thanks so much, Hope for all the great advice. And readers, make sure you keep a watch for Hope’s novel, Den, to be released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, June 3, 2019

Check here for details about the progress of her book:

Click to tweet: What three things can a new author do to catch the attention of an agent? Hartline Literary Agency Jr. Agent, Hope Bolinger, answers this question and many more. #WritersLife #amwriting


Danny was told sophomore year was supposed to be stressful . . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day.

To add to his sophomore woes, he—and his three best friends—receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the prestigious boarding school. Danny says no. His overbearing mother says yes. So off he goes.

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters horrible hazing initiations, girls who like to pick other people’s scabs, and cafeteria food that could turn the strongest stomachs sour. As he attempts to survive, he will have to face his fears or fall prey to the King’s Academy lions.


Literary Agent. Published Novelist.

Hope wants to help authors understand the publishing industry.

Since she started writing novels at 16, she’s been trying to crack the tricky code of how to catch an editor’s eye. She’s learned a lot along the way and wants to help authors find an in in this crazy industry.

Hope Bolinger is a professional writing major at Taylor University. She has served in various roles at IlluminateYA Fiction, Hartline Literary Agency, N 2 Publishing, and The Echo. Over 200 of her works (plays, poems, articles) have appeared in various publications. Her most recent success is having her YA novel Den contracted by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, scheduled to release June 3, 2019.

3 Questions Wednesday with Bethany Morehead

Bethany Morehead

Happy Wednesday!

This morning we welcome award-winning writer and Jr. Agent of Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency, Bethany Morehead. Readers, be sure to leave Bethany a comment for a chance to win a $25 gift card from Amazon. Woo Hoo!

Bethany, here’s your first question.

 Can you describe yourself in three words?

Quirky, Childlike, and Genuine.

Quirkiness shows originality. I like that! 🙂  Next question…

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

The Highlands of Scotland. There is an area called Farr, Scotland—which is my maiden name. It would not only be fantastic to see a piece of ancestry, but to be able to write about it as well would be a dream.

Scotland would make the perfect setting for a book. Now…

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

“Que Sera Sera; Whatever Will Be, Will Be” by Doris Day. This question was one of the hardest for me to answer. After listening to close to every song on Spotify, I keep coming back to this classic by one of my favorite actresses. In a world where there is so much worry about what the future holds, it reminds us that the future is not written by us. I feel it would be a great theme song to my life, being as my life hasn’t panned out to “my perfect plan,” but I’m not writing my story, am I? The Author holds the pen, and I trust Him with it. So, whatever will be, will be.

I’m a fan of Doris Day and the song! Yes, God holds the pen in His hand and it is His story. Bethany, thank you for joining us on Inspired Prompts. It was a pleasure to meet you.

Readers–don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win the $25 Amazon gift card!

Click to tweet: The Author holds the pen, and I trust Him with it. @InspiredPrompt #interview #giveaway

Bethany Morehead is a young, enthusiastic, award-winning writer and Jr. Agent of Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency. She fell in love with writing at a young age, even plotting out stories on napkins and the corners of her notebooks in school. She enjoys both writing and reading fiction books, especially romance. Bethany, a child at heart who enjoys working with children, also has a heart for children’s literature and a soft spot for fairytales. She manages her own blog on, where she discusses life in ministry, inspires women, and shines light on the struggles of infertility. She also co-manages a dating and marriage vlog with her husband.

3 Questions Wednesday with Kelly Liberto

Liberto 8Today’s guest is my friend, Kelly Liberto:  Biblical counselor, speaker, and writer of Christian suspense.

Hi, Kelly! So glad you dropped by. First question:


What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Kelly: The first book, my mainstay which comes to mind, is the Bible of course. Written by the Designer himself, if I have any needs for my writing journey, I go here first for encouragement, direction and even healing.

You may ask, what kind of healing? I was diagnosed with cancer in April 2001. In the bible I found promises from God which kept me going through some serious chemotherapy and leaned on this book for the inspiration, strength and wisdom to know how to deal with that particular bump in the road.

My next choices may not sound so “obvious.” I found Ronie Kendig’s novel Dead Reckoning to be the jump starter in my love of writing suspense. When I was told to add a romantic thread to my current manuscript by a well known expert in the field, I balked. How could I add “romance” to a book that deals with such difficult subjects as trafficking and political corruption?

The answer to my questions came in the form of Beth Vogt’s romance novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love. She had just the right balance of realism dipped with a touch of young love and I thought, “wow, I could write that!”

The Bible is a main stay for many of us. And I find novels an interesting choice. Now about you…

What secret talents do you have?

Kelly: Hmmm…that’s a rough one. A fairly recent experience revealed a talent I had when a recruiter offered me a job as a life coach.  Apparently, this job entails encouraging and advising others on how to overcome personal and business challenges.

Though the offer was attractive, I turned it down. It appeared I made the right decision as shortly after, I was offered a contract with Hartline Literary agency.

Sounds like a win-win situation. 🙂 Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Kelly: It depends. What do you like to eat? My specialties would probably include traditional fare like pasta, Mexican or meat and potato dishes. We’re not too fancy around here.

But, I can guarantee some laughs and a good time for sure!

I like all of the above. Thanks again for participating in 3 Questions Wednesday!

Kelly is offering to giveaway  a print copy of Sweet Freedom With A Slice of Peach Cobbler to one blessed person who leaves a comment. So make sure and tell Kelly “hi.”

sweet freedom 1Kelly Liberto is a communicator with a capital “C.”

From speaking in a Fortune 500 board room to appearing on several local television shows including a taped interview “Kelly’s Miracle.” Public Access television program, The Total Picture, produced the account of how God miraculously healed her from stage 4 cancer after only three months in 2001.

You can read more about how God rescued her from fear resulting from sexual abuse and healed her from cancer in the anthology Sweet Freedom With A Slice Of Peach Cobbler. Sweet Freedom hit number 7 out of 100 free kindle downloads on July 4, 2013.

Her current manuscript was a semifinalist in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis Contest in April 2014. Her novel also won a bronze medal in the Frasier Contest in 2015. This December, Kelly signed with agent Jim Hart from Hartline Literary Agency.

When she’s not busy as a wife or a mom or jet-skiing the shark infested waters off South Carolina, she spends her time writing Christian suspense.