Friday, June 16, 2017


Stallholder Profile for Rock on Kitty

Name: Marianna Shek

Business name and Facebook name and link:

Suburb/town you live in now: Brisbane

What is it that you make and what skills do you use?: I am a self published writer. I write for young adults and children. I usually collaborate with illustrators and editors and work on the layout myself. 

What inspired you to start your business?: I had been commissioned to write a pathfinding (Choose-your-own-path style) short story for Halloween by a magazine. After I submitted the story, I didn't hear from them again! However, I enjoyed writing my story so much that I ended up expanding it into a novella. At 16 000 words, it was an odd length to pitch to a traditional publisher so I ended up self publishing it myself! See link

How long have you been ‘creating’?: I've been writing on and off now for about ten years

Is it a full time/ part time/hobby or business?: For the first five years it was a hobby. I've only turned it into a business in the past year or so.

Where do you sell your creations?: I sell at a couple of bookstores (Dymocks Indooroopilly, Dymocks Chermside, Mary Ryan Milton and The Madhatter Wynnum). For my latest picture book The Stolen Button, I have actually just launched a Kickstarter to take pre-orders on the book. 

This is a beautifully illustrated fairy tale set on the Silk Road. I worked with the Australian-Iranian illustrator Leila Honari on this project for the past two years.
And this is the first time I've tried selling my works at markets such as The Handmade Expo.

What makes what you do special or different?: The beauty of self publishing is that you can experiment with works outside commercial fiction. All my works go through the same rigorous process as a publisher. I bring in professional artists and editors. I use beta readers to test my work. While traditional publishing is fantastic, they don't tend to take much risk. For example, my picture book Donald Doing is illustrated beautifully by two emerging artists who had just graduated from uni. Publishing houses usually request many more years experience before looking at portfolio submissions from illustrators. Also, my picture book The Stolen Button is a fairy tale for older readers (12 plus). It is 48 pages long compared to traditional picture books which are usually 32 pictures. Fortunately, Kickstarter is a distribution platform that lets you be innovative.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?: I love watching my readers face expressions when they read something that make them laugh

What is your favourite product that you make?: Even though I really enjoy the collaborative process of making picture books, I am a writer at heart so my favourite product so far is my little pathfinding, macabre comedy novel Choose Your Own Death.  It's perfect for 8 -12 year old but also very funny for adults.

Do you teach classes or workshops?: Yes. Usually after the release of each book, I will offer a related workshop for libraries and schools across Brisbane. You can find out more on my website

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