Feb. 2020 | Infographics

The Visual Guide to Effective Query Letters

The query letter infographic features industry advice by literary agent, Janet Reid (aka The Query Shark).

At the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, literary agent, Janet Reid (aka The Query Shark) presented the Effective Query Letter workshop. The session provided an informative, blunt, and entertaining look at this important step on the writing journey. As if the session wasn't enough, Ms. Reid generously supplied a take-away sheet.

What makes an effective #queryletter? This #infographic breaks it down: The #Writers Guide to Query Letters via @lucashornwrites and @Janet_Reid Share on X

As a graphic designer, I'm always interested in taking plain-text and turning it into something visually appealing. Some may call this procrastination, but I prefer to call it an excuse to keep my skills in check (see procrastination).

When it came to Ms. Reid's take-away sheet, I was struck with inspiration (not only for my query). What if I added visuals to the information in the packet? In the design world, they call this an "infographic". Infographics provide visual enhancement to data or information for better retention. And, since it is a graphic, they are easy to share online.

It seemed like the perfect way to compliment this generous packet of information so I created The Effective Query Letter Infographic.

The Effective Query Infographic

Query letters are an essential part of the writing process. On the surface, the query letter introduces the writer, and their work, to literary agents. Dig deeper and you will find the query letter does much more.

  • Entices the agent to request a writer's work
  • Demonstrates writing capabilities
  • Shows a writer knows how to "sell" their work
  • Shows a writer knows how to "sell" him/herself
  • Proves a writer can follow instructions/industry standards
  • Allows the agent to research the writer
  • Helps find major problems within the work/novel

Featuring information and tips from literary agent, Janet Reid*. This infographic breaks down the elements of the query and provides hints for getting it right.

Enter your email address to get The Query Letter Infographic sent to your inbox.

*Janet Reid is a literary agent at New Leaf Literary & Media in New York City. She keeps a blog at JetReidLiterary.blogspot.com that answers questions from writers. She also runs QueryShark.blogspot.com, a blog that posts (with permission) and critiques queries and revisions from writers.


Lucas Horn

Lucas Horn is a creative designer who is attracted to men and True Crime, a trifecta which profoundly influenced his debut novel, The Midnight Blaze. When he isn't designing or writing, Lucas likes to travel and search for unique writing locations.

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