Janice S. C. Petrie has been enchanted by the sea for as long as she can remember. She became a certified SCUBA diver while in high school, and spent many years exploring coastal waters. Her fascination with marine invertebrates grew while working for the New England Aquarium as an Outreach Specialist. Since then, she’s spent years caring for these fascinating sea animals, and teaching children and adults about the habitats and sea life commonly found near the shore. The material covered in her children’s stories are topics commonly taught by Petrie in her popular sea animal programs. Petrie has experience in all facets of the sea, having worked as an assistant plant manager of a large, Gloucester/Boston seafood company.
In her free time, Petrie made many trips to the Ossipee, New Hampshire area to visit with the Ossipee Historical Society, the Carroll County Courthouse, and the Concord State Library, trying to piece together the events of 1916 that kept everyone mesmerized while the tragic story was unfolding, yet was seldom mentioned years later. She gained interest in this story after learning the cottage she spent a single night vacationing in as a baby, seemed to be occupied by an unsettling presence.
As a certified teacher, grades K-8, and a Reading Specialist, all ages, Petrie has earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees in the field of education, with a concentration in reading. Petrie also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art, with a graphic design concentration. Because of her background in developing integrated curriculum units for elementary and middle schools, Petrie has available on her website, free, downloadable curriculum packets for each of her children’s books.
Interview with Publisher’s Weekly
by Drucilla Schultz / November 7, 2016
Want to Succeed at Self-Publishing?
Harness Your Passion: Tips from an Indie Author
Janice Petrie’s life has always fueled her writing. Her experience as an outreach specialist for the New England Aquarium helped inform her picture books, while growing up near — and once staying the night in — a haunted, lakeside cottage gave her non-fiction a unique perspective. When she decided to try self-publishing, she wanted to “produce well-written books that readers would find entertaining and interesting.” Perfection to a Fault, an indie true crime tale of a gruesome 1916 murder of a wife by her husband, received a positive review from Publishers Weekly, with our reviewer calling it “crisp” and “quick-moving,” and praising Petrie for “expertly put[ting] details into historical context.”
When she started her own indie publishing company in 2000, Petrie admits self-publishing wasn’t a popular choice: “There wasn’t a lot of information out there at the time…I familiarized myself with the importance of copyrighting my work, found a wonderful copyeditor, and explored avenues of distribution, a necessity if you want to have a presence in many nationwide bookstores. My focus was more on writing and illustrating than marketing at the onset, and I’ve spent the past couple of years adjusting this important balance.”
Early on, Petrie underestimated how difficult it would be to create a following for her work. “As an individual making the decision to become an independent publisher, there’s nothing to fear, but achieving success will take a creative marketing strategy, and a bit of luck,” she says. “Without marketing firmly in place, your books stand little chance of being read by many.”
Petrie also stresses the importance of editorial reviews and awards: “Understanding how the review system works was a game changer for my titles. I was unaware that independent publishers’ books would be considered for awards.”
We asked Petrie to give us three tips for aspiring indie authors:
Harness Your Passion
“Write about subjects for which you’re passionate, and be ready to share your expertise with others. People will be attracted by your enthusiasm, and want to learn more about you and your work, which could ultimately lead to a following.”
Explore Social Media
“Learn everything you can about social media and leave no avenue unexplored. Make sure your work is polished, and seek out reviews and awards. Enter trade shows where your target audience is gathered. It’s your best chance to reach potential book buyers, without having your own daytime talk show.”
The Importance of Persistence
“The most important attribute you need is persistence. Even if you have great books, you’re going to experience roadblocks and rejection. You have to be resilient. After a moment of despair, you need to pick yourself up, and understand with an unwavering belief that you will triumph in the end.”
Mystery writer and event founder, Clay Stafford, presented Janice S. C. Petrie with the 2014 Silver Falchion Award for Best Children’s Picture Book in August at the “Killer Nashville” mystery writers conference. We are absolutely thrilled, and excited about the upcoming adventure that “Did You Make the Hole in the Shell in the Sea?” is about to set out on. Clay says this book is going to travel the world.
“Perfection To A Fault” Talk & Book Signing at Freedom, New Hampshire’s Old Home Days
Book & Curriculum Presentation at
Wellington’s Barnes & Noble
Book Signing & Sea Animal Display at the Holiday Stroll
The American Library Association Conference in Orlando, June 2016
New England Library Association Conference
PAS North Shore Reading Council Presentation