MEET HOPE BOLINGER!
More than 1200 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids to HOOKED to Crosswalk.com.
She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams.
Fifteen of her books are under contract or out now with traditional publishers, and she hopes more of her stories will find a home soon.
She has won awards for her essays, poetry, children’s books, novels, and plays.
Connect with Hope and follow her online!
Instagram: @ hopekbolinger
- Dessert: Baklava, hand-down
- Fast-food restaurant: Five Guys!
- Flowers: Bleeding hearts
- Disney princess: Rapunzel, but Belle is a close second (I dressed as her once for a children’s party)
- Dream house: bungalow by the sea, mountain cabin, castle in England, or? Castle in England. Definitely have talked with ten writers about up and moving to the UK to buy a castle there.
- Plotter or Panster or both? Plotter. I’ve tried pantsing and I cried.
Q: Please share with us about your position as editor.
A: Sure! So I’ll be doing a number of things. Editing, obviously, LOL. But I’ll also work on acquiring our titles for our fiction line, and making sure everything stays on schedule. It may not sound like a lot, but it’s already keeping me busy.
Q: What are you currently looking for?
A: So what I would say End Game in general is looking for is very good, very unique stories. Something you’d watch a movie of and say, “Aww, man, I wish I had thought of that.” Really good loglines, something that if summarized in one sentence gets people interested in it more.
In fiction—my area—we tend to gravitate to these genres: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction, Historical, some YA, some MG, and some Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
I will say we don’t do much speculative, much as I love those genres.
The biggest thing is the hook. Does is have mass audience appeal while, at the same time, not being a formulaic story?
The most important thing is we’re looking for predominantly general market books. We want books to be clean—something we can comfortably put a PG-13 label on—but we want to be able to reach wider audiences. This means writing stories that don’t have faith threads, but are still stories that promote good values.
If your story does have a faith thread, it’s not an auto-reject. But it will be much, much harder to get a slot in our publication schedule.
Q: Do you require agent-only submissions?
A: So I believe it’s agented only at the moment. The only exception is to meet us at a conference. Victoria and I, the acquisitions editors for End Game, are always down to be invited to attend one of these. We’re also scheduled to be at a number of them in 2022.
Q: If we want to submit MG fiction to you, what should we be reading as potential mentor texts?
A: This is honestly a great question! My best suggestion is to find MG reads that are clean but could feasibly fit both markets. My most recent read I recommend—by a Christian author—for the ABA market is All the Impossible Things. I also enjoyed See You in the Cosmos and The Thing about Jellyfish. As far as the other titles go, use your discretion. A good publisher to check out for books that straddle the line is Chicken Scratch books.
Q: For MG fiction, do you have any favs on your wishlist?
A: So I will say we’re sticking pretty contemporary (although we are taking on one with a Night at the Museum twist). So think contemporary reads with voices that won’t let you go. I’m all for a speculative twist as long as its light and it’s still contemporary. If you give me a THIS meets THIS formula with recent MG titles, it’ll tell me you’re reading widely in the market.
I will say that I am a sucker for humorous voices and really quirky characters. Give me someone to root for. And give me books that aren’t afraid to dive into harder topics.
Q: If we want to submit YA fiction to you, what should we be reading as potential mentor texts?
A: Oh goodness, I could suggest so many here, but definitely books that are clean and can fit into the ABA. Fade to White, The Astonishing Color of After, and Dearest Josephine are my top suggestions. I don’t want to say that we won’t take on speculative, but it probably would have to be very light.
Q: For YA fiction, do you have any favs on your wishlist?
A: So honestly, show me your Netflix and Disney+ prowess. Outer Banks meets Gossip Girl … or something along the lines of that. Show me that you’re really plugged into the media teens are consuming. THIS meets THIS formula also works really well with YA titles. Show me you’re reading, and that you’re reading recent titles. And like I mentioned in the MG section, don’t be afraid to hit on harder topics.
I’m a sucker for honest voices that really *get* the teen experience. Voices that don’t talk down to teens, but meet them right where they’re at.
Q: What is the best way to submit to you? A: I believe we opened for submissions in January of 2022. If you have an agent, go ahead and have them follow the guidelines found here at End Game Press.
Thank you so much, Hope, for letting us know more about you and your wish lists!
And thanks to our readers and fellow KidLit writers for joining in this journey. Please post comments to let us know if you’ve read (or are going to read) any of these great books Hope recommends. And share with us if you have any more questions for Hope!
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