Australia’s Bestselling Books in 2015

As I have remarked before on this blog, getting reliable figures on book sales in Australia is – to say the least – challenging. Nielsen’s research is largely accurate for retail shops, but doesn’t include many speciality stores or any ebook sales. Sigh. However, it is still interesting to monitor trends as revealed by ‘bestseller’ lists. I was very pleased to see three women’s fiction titles listed. So here are the top ten best-selling Australian books for 2015, according to Nielsen Bookscan. Let’s hope we can access some romance figures soon.

  1. 714,000 The combined Treehouse series books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton)*
    1. The 65-storey Treehouse
    2. The 52-storey Treehouse
    3. The 39-storey Treehouse
    4. The 26-storey Treehouse
    5. The 13-storey Treehouse
  2. 81,000The Dressmaker (Rosalie Ham), film tie-in edition
  3. 77,000The Husband’s Secret (Liane Moriarty)
  4. 70,000 – Family Food: 130 Delicious Paleo Recipes for Every Day (Pete Evans)
  5. 69,000 – The Lake House (Kate Morton)
  6. 68,000 – I Quit Sugar: Simplicious (Sarah Wilson)


* Books+Publishing rather dismissively did not list the individual Treehouse titles. However, there are currently only five books in the series. I have listed them from the most recent release at #1 to the oldest book at #5.

Emerald 2nd Round Results!

We are delighted to announce the second round finalists in the Emerald Award.  These people have made it through one round of reader judging to make this list and now face another round of judging on their full manuscript for a chance to go to our final judge.  We congratulate them most heartily for making it this far and wish them luck with the next round!  Drumroll please for (in alphabetical order):


Laura Boon

Jan Bridges

Suzanne Cass

Frances dall’Alba

Yanicke Forfang

Anna Rae Frost

Georgia Henry

Emma Hoole

Amanda Knight

AT Morgan

C Temple-Slack

Katerina Simms


And In the Emerald Pro, our second-rounders are:

Alexandra Grace

Euphrasia Holmes

Katy Scott



Thank you, as always, to our reader judges, our judge manager, contest manager and contest co-ordinator  – all of whom are volunteers! – for making the Emerald happen.  It’s a huge undertaking every year and we appreciate all the hard work!


February New Title Releases

February is the month of love. As we look forward to Valentine’s Day, here is a snapshot of some of the new releases available from our members. I’m already poised to click ‘purchase’ on my laptop for several of them!

Remember that we would love the opportunity to hear about your new release and  let all your RWA compatriots know about it too. You can upload covers through the member section of the website. Please login, then go to Published? under the MyRWA drop down menu and choose the ‘send new releases to Hearts Talk‘. Your cover will also appear on the website and be posted to Pinterest.

The deadline for covers is the 8th of the month prior to publication (e.g. If your release is 1 March, your email must be received before the 8 February). This service is available to MEMBERS ONLY. If your cover runs late for any reason, you are welcome to submit it the next month.

February 2016 New Releases

Love Between the Covers Canberra Screening

We are very excited to announce a special event for all romance lovers in or near Canberra.   RWA members Rhyll Biest, Elyse Huntington, Bec Fleming, Justine Lewis and Stella Francis have organised a screening of Love Between the Covers, a new documentary about romance readers and writers.  All the details are below.  Don’t miss it!


Love Between the Covers

Sat, 13/02/2016 at 12:00 PM – Greenway, ACT

$11.44–$14.58 Get Tickets

On 13 February 2016 the Tuggeranong Arts Centre will host a screening of the documentary Love Between the Covers, a feature-length documentary film about the little-known, surprisingly powerful community of women who read and write romance novels. After the film, several saucy Canberra romance writers—all at different stages of their writer’s journey—will be on hand to answer questions about what it’s like to be part of this global, billion-dollar industry. Ask us anything (bring your question in writing with you name on it to enter the draw to win the main prize of a $100 book voucher, or one of several romance novels).

With Valentine’s Day falling the next day, what better time to learn about the business of love?

For more information, visit the webpage here.


When does the movie start?

Please arrive at noon to meet up with friends, hand your written question to organisers and find your seat of choice. The film will start promptly at 12.30.

Is there food at the venue?

No, you will need to BYO food and drink. Drinks need to be bottled or canned (no alcohol!) Only popcorn and drinks are permitted once inside the cinema.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

There are no ID requirements or age limits but keep in mind that this is a movie about romance writing, so there may be discussions about love and romance not suitable for children. Any children should be accompanied by an adult.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Parking is available on Reed Street. The closest bus stop is Soward Way after Drakeford Drive. Buses 60, 61, 64, 65, 160, 161, 164, 765.

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

No alcohol allowed.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

On the Love Between the Covers Canberra screening facebook page

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

Yes, so long as you bring your ticket to the event.


Saturday, 13 February 2016 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM (AEDT) Add to Calendar
Tuggeranong Arts Centre – 137 Reed Street Greenway, ACT 2901 AU – View Map

Booktopia’s Australia’s Favourite Author Poll

We’re delighted to see several RWA members and friends on the short list for this year’s Favourite Author poll held by Booktopia.  Congratulations to all of them and to the many more who appeared in the earlier heats.  The poll is open until Sunday.  You can vote for more than one author, but can only vote once, so chose carefully!

VOTE NOW: Australia’s Favourite Author 2016 – The Final Vote!

ARR Award Finalists

Our good friends at the Australian Romance Readers Association have announced the finalists in their annual awards for Australian Romance books and writers.

We are thrilled to see so many of our members represented in this list.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that the vast majority of these finalists are Romance Writers of Australia members.   Congratulations to all the finalists and most sincere thanks to ARRA for all they do to support Australian Romance.

If you are an Australian lover of Romance, you should really consider joining ARRA.  Their biannual convention is great fun and as a member, you get to both nominate and vote for the awards.  (If you are already an ARRA member, you should have received a voting link by email – voting closes on the 28th of February.)

Check out the list for your favourites, or to find some new ones!

2015 ARR Awards: finalists announced

Selling Synopsis Results

Drumroll please!

The 2016 RWA Selling Synopsis competition results are in!  This competition asks entrants to produce a synopsis of their story as if you were submitting it to an agent or publisher.  It’s a much-dreaded task among writers, so entering alone is brave, but the people below have been judged to be not just brave, but skilled!

The 2016 Selling Synopsis placegetters, as judged by agent Courtney Miller-Callihan, are:

1st – Jo McAlister

2nd – Elizabeth King

3rd – Carla Ashburn

4th – Kat Colmer

5th – Sandra Hayward

6th – Carla Ashburn

7th – Bridie Smith

Congratulations to all our finalists, and to everyone who entered! Thanks to Courtney and all our judges and the new contest manager, Pauline Johnson, who’s done a fabulous job.

Specialist YA bookshop opening in Sydney

Good news for authors of Young Adult (YA) titles. Beachside Bookshop, a new bookstore specialising in Australian YA titles, will open at Avalon Beach*, Sydney, in February, according to Bookseller+Publishing.

Owner Libby Armstrong says, ‘My aim with the shop is to showcase homegrown talent, promote the rising stars in Oz YA, and ensure we’ve got the latest international authors.’

Libby is an experienced bookseller who has had a passion for YA literature ever since her mother, also a bookseller, introduced her to the genre many years ago.

In planning the store she was surprised to discover how the YA category has ‘exploded’ in recent years. She believes, as do most people who read or write YA, that this is at least partly due to the fact that adult readers also enjoy reading YA novels.

‘If you are time starved and still want to feel you’ve had a read of substance, most YA authors are using a narrative style that is conducive to this, ’ Libby said.

She adds that reading YA is, of course, also a conduit to understanding teens and the issues they face.

If all goes well, Libby hopes to hold an Oz YA festival for Sydney’s northern beaches. The store will also stock titles for younger children and adults.

* Avalon/ Avalon Beach is a delightful town on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Whether a Sydney native or a tourist, it is well worth a visit if you are in the region. Aside from the new bookshop, there is another wonderful indie bookshop and cafe, Bookoccino, a charming old cinema, and, directly across the road from Bookoccino, a pharmacy containing a hidden gem – an old fashioned milk bar where you can buy the best milkshakes in the world, made from real ice-cream of your choice.

January New Releases

Happy New Year everyone. Isn’t January the most wonderful month in Australia? The skies are blue, the mood is sunny and the books are fabulous! This month our members are offering 37 new releases covering every genre and written by established favourites and hot new authors.

I plan to crack open a bottle of bubbles, peruse this list at my leisure, and then choose at least one title by a favourite author and one by an author I’ve never read before. Why don’t you do the same and help to spread the love?

January 16 New book releases

Selling Synopsis Finalists

The first set of results from the new contest season are in!  The Selling Synopsis tests entrants on the much-dreaded, but very useful, synopsis.  Congratulations to all those who entered on taking the plunge and especially to our finalists, who are (in alphabetical order):

Carla Ashburn (x2)

Kat Colmer

Sandra Hayward

Elizabeth King

Jo McAlister

Bridie Smith

Thanks, as always, to all the volunteers who make our contest season happen: judges, coordinators and managers.  And good luck to all the finalists!


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