Opening Plenary 1: Anita Heiss – Taking Your Niche to the Top

Anita Heiss is an academic, who started writing women’s fiction with indigenous heroines.  She has been accused of dumbing down her work, betraying readers of her academic works. However wanted to write stories for indigenous women that reflected life her experience – telling stories.

She has been described as inventing Koori chick lit / choc lit


  • Women in her world
  • Women who are sexy, savvy, strong, resilient, intelligent, career-minded
  • Some have kids, some not
  • Goal:  reach 18-45 year old women
  • Strategy: what do women have in common
  • Positive stories


  • Aboriginal women want relationships too
  • You can have a man,a mortgage and your own mind
  • Australian history – moments in and defining
  • Perils of dating for Koori women
  • Sterotypes of Aboriginal ppl
  • Dating:  internet, blind dates, through work associates, pick ups in bars et

Second book: heroine was friend in first book

  • Interracial relationship / dating
  • Relationships between police and black community
  • Indigenous intellectual property rights
  • NT intervention
  • Indigenous arts – visual, music, literature


  • Older characters
  • Set in brisbane


  • Know why you are writing what you are writing
  • Find your niche
  • Know your audience / consider your readers
  • Know your competition in the marketplace
  • Improve your craft – write every day, read widely
  • Sales teams make publishing decisions

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