Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Margaret Dilloway


Margaret is a middle grade author and her debut, MOMOTARO BOOK ONE: XANDER AND THE LOST ISLAND OF MONSTERS is now available from Disney-Hyperion! She is represented by Dan Lazar, Writers House.

front cover_MomotaroConnect with Margaret . . .

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book . . .

Amazon * IndieBound * Barnes & Noble



Query into


What resources and websites did you use when querying?


Did you ever have a Revise & Resubmit? What should a writer consider when deciding whether or not to take one on?

Consider whether or not it agrees with your vision of the book. Sometimes it may make your book stronger and sometimes it does not.


At what point do you share new story ideas with your agent?

I want to share them as soon as they come into my head. But I develop them a little bit, then ask if he thinks it’s a good idea. I submitted a list recently and he and his assistant were really into this one idea over all the others.

Do you send sample chapters to your agent or do you wait until the manuscript is finished?

I send samples to make sure I’m on the right track. Then he asks me to make some revisions.


Do you see the feedback from editors?

It depends on the agent. I see all the feedback. It can be a bummer, or puzzling, but mostly you have to shrug it off. It’s clear they’re looking for reasons to turn down the book. Everyone has something different to say, usually.

What is the next step if an editor shows interest?

The agent calls up the other people who have it. Other editors might want to make an offer, too. Or the editor might do something called a “pre-empt” which is to make an offer that is good enough to take the manuscript out of circulation.

My first women’s fiction book, How to Be an American Housewife, was smuggled to my editor through a leak in another publishing house, somebody’s assistant or someone like that, whose boss had turned it down. So we didn’t even submit to this editor, and she’s the one who ended up buying it. Thank you, still-anonymous assistant.

Can you check in with your agent if there hasn’t been any news in a while?

Of course. You can always check in with your agent. Your agent knows that authors are prone to freak-outs!

Did you know there was interest in the book before you got an offer or was it a surprise?

I did. Stephanie Lurie at Disney-Hyperion must have read it the same day she got it because I think it was just a day later when she said she was interested. Secretly I knew Disney-Hyperion was my dream publisher, so I was very happy with this. I then talked to her on the phone and I felt like I already knew her. She really gets me.

How did you celebrate when you got the news about your book deal?

For MOMOTARO, I bought a bottle of the nicest sake I could find.


What’s involved in promoting a book?

A lot of social media. For middle grade fiction, you want to reach out to schools, teachers, and librarians and try to set up school visits. The publisher tells me this is still the best way for a kids’ book to get started—old-fashioned word of mouth.

Is there a lot of support among debut authors?

There really is. Everyone knows how nerve-wracking the process is and shares information. You don’t know how much you don’t know, really!

Thank you, Margaret!

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