NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. The Gather.com First Chapters Writing Competition (the "Competition") is sponsored by Gather Inc. ("Gather"), 85 Devonshire Street, 3rd floor, Boston, MA, 02109.
1.Â Â Competition Period: The 2007 Gather.com First Chapters Writing Competition (the "Competition") manuscript entry period runs from 9:00 AM EST, Thursday, January 11, 2007 to 11:59 PM EST, Thursday, March 15, 2007. Sponsorâ€™s computer clock governs time stamp.
2.Â Â Â Eligibility: (a) Published and unpublished writers are eligible to compete in the Competition.Â Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives of Gather Inc. ("Sponsor"), American Public Media Group, Minnesota Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, The Hearst Corporation, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Simon & Schuster and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, promotion, advertising, design, web design, web hosting, publicity, production and print production agencies and anyone connected with the production, hosting and distribution of this Competition (collectively, " Competition Entities"), their immediate family members (parents, children, siblings, spouse and each of their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) and members of any of their households are not eligible to enter or be awarded a prize.Â Void outside of the fifty United States and D.C., and where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.Â All federal, state and/or local laws, rules and regulations apply.
(b)Â Â Manuscript submissions (hereafter the â€œSubmissionsâ€) must be original, previously unpublished book, completed book length manuscripts in the commercial fiction genre from authors who have not previously published a full length book (excluding self published and vanity press).Â All Submissions must be in English.Â Submissions must not violate copyright laws; must contain properly cited material, if applicable; and must be previously unpublished (except on Gather.com or as previously noted), original material. You must be 18 years of age or older as of January 11, 2007 and must be a legal resident of the United States or the District of Columbia to be eligible to enter. Submissions may not be submitted elsewhere unless and until the entrant has been eliminated from the Competition. By entering your Submission in the Competition, you hereby give Touchstone/Fireside (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) first publication rights to your manuscript until such time as you are eliminated from the Competition. Writers cannot submit more than one Submission in the Competition. This Competition is run only on the Internet.Â By entering this Competition, you agree that if you are selected as the Grand Prize Winner, you will sign Simon & Schusterâ€™s standard publishing agreement within five days of receipt of the agreement.
3.Â Â Â How to Enter: Before 11:59 PM (EST) Thursday, March 15, 2007, you must complete three (3) activities in order to enter this Competition. 1) If any excerpt from your Submission has been previously published on Gather.com, remove it from the site. 2) Send your Submission as an MS Word file attachment or equivalent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The document must be delivered in complete form, drafted in 12 pt. Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins throughout, paginated and double-spaced and must include numbered chapter breaks. You must also break out the first three (3) chapters, sequentially, in a separate document so that they may be posted on Gather.com. The chapters should be clearly numbered and be between 2,000 and 10,000 words in length.Â Â The chapters will be posted in sequential order, chapters 1 through 3 only.Â The subject of your email should read First Chapters Competition Entry. In the email you must include your name (first, last), email address, manuscript title, manuscript word count, brief 500-750 word synopsis of the plot, 500 word or less author bio. We will email all entrants to confirm receipt of their Submissions. If you have entered the Competition and have not received a confirmation notice of your Submission within three business days, please email email@example.com. 3) To complete your entry, you must click on the link in your confirmation email to join the First Chapters Competition group on Gather.com. If you have any trouble registering for the site and the First Chapters group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for help. The Competition administrator will post your entry to Gather.com within 2 business days. Submissions will not be returned.Â Â
Note: In the event that less than 200 Submissions meeting the minimum standard criteria of the Competition are timely received by Gather, Simon & Schuster reserves the right to not award the publishing prize.
4.Â Â Â Article Rights: By entering this Competition, you explicitly (i) certify that you meet the eligibility requirements as set forth in these Official Rules; (ii) grant to the Sponsor the right to use and publish excerpts from your Submission and the biographical information you provide (except street address, telephone number, and email address) during the Competition; iii) represent and warrant that you own or haveÂ exclusive rights to the entirety of your Submission and have the right to grant to Sponsor temporary rights to post excerpts of your Submission; (iv) represent and warrant that you have not used licensed material or any material owned by someone other than you and that your Submission will not be libelous, or infringe or violate the rights of any third parties, including but not limited to copyrights, trademarks, or rights of publicity/privacy; and (v) represent and warrant that your Submission is original and you have not copied or plagiarized the content or portions of text for your Submission from other material.Â You further agree that you will not submit your Submission to any other publisher or in any other competition until you have been notified by Gather that your Submission has been eliminated from the Competition. By entering this Competition you agree that if you are selected as the Grand Prize Winner, you will sign Simon & Schusterâ€™s standard publishing agreement within five days of receipt of the agreement. If for any reason the Grand Prize Winner fails to execute the publishing agreement, the grand prize will be forfeited and may be awarded to the author of the next highest scoring manuscript.
Sponsor reserves the temporary publication rights to publish excerpts of all Submissions. Sponsor reserves the right to request that semifinalists (10) and finalists (5) engage in additional Competition related activities including but not limited to, author interviews, blog posts, recorded author readings, live chats with members, and/or video posts.Â
5.Â Â Â Judging and Winner Selection: The Competition will run in four (4) stages:
1/11/07: Launch of Competition: 60 day (approx) submission period for entrants to submit original, completed, book length manuscripts in the commercial fiction genre.
Chapter one of each entrantâ€™s manuscript will be posted for a voting period of 14 days for Gather members to read and rate the entries on a scale of one (1) through ten (10).
3/15/07: At 11:59 pm EST the Submission period officially closes, but voting continues on chapters received in the final days.
3/30/07: Voting period ends.
4/3/07: 20 Round 1 winners are announced, 15 based on the highest number of votes and ratings from members of Gather.com and 5 selected by the Gather editorial team.
4/3/07: 20 second chapters from the Round 1 winnersâ€™ manuscripts are posted by the Competition administrator and are live on the site for a three week reading and rating period.
4/25/07: Voting period ends.
5/1/07: 10 Round 2 winners are announced, 7 based on the highest number of votes and ratings from members of Gather.com, and 3 selected by a Gather editorial team.
Â 5/2/07: 10 third chapters from the Semifinalistsâ€™ entries are posted by the Competition administrator and are live on the site for a two week reading and rating period.
5/16/07: Voting period ends.
5/22/07: 5 Competition Finalists are announced, 4 based on the highest number of votes and ratings from members of Gather.com and 1 selected by a Gather editorial team.Â Â
The Submissions of the 5 finalists will be sent to the Grand Prize judging panel on 5/23/07. The Grand Prize judging panel (Carolyn K. Reidy, President of the Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, Mark Gompertz, Executive Vice President and Publisher of Touchstone, Borders Group CEO George Jones and Gather.com Founder and CEO, Tom Gerace) will select 1 Grand Prize Winner to receive a $5,000 cash prize from Gather.com, and publication of his/her Submission by Touchstone/Fireside (an imprint of Simon & Schuster).Â
The four runners up will receive $500 cash.Â Â
5/31/07: Grand Prize Winner Announced
If the Panel determines that there are no Submissions of publishable quality from the Round 4 finalists, Simon & Schuster reserves the right to review all Submissions from Round 3 (i.e. the 10 semifinalists) to determine the Grand Prize winner.Â In the event that the Grand Prize winner is selected from among the Round 3 semifinalists that did not qualify as one of the original Round 4 finalists, then all Round 4 finalists will be deemed runners up and each will receive the $500 cash prize.Â
Notes on Judging: Gather will monitor the Competition for irregular voting patterns and fraud, and will disqualify votes and entrants if, in the Sponsorâ€™s sole judgment, they determine that the integrity or fairness of the Competition has been, or could be, compromised. Entrants are eligible to vote in the Competition but are expected to do so fairly and in the spirit of the competition.
The â€œeditorsâ€™pickâ€ winners throughout the competition will be selected at the Gather.com editorial teamâ€™s discretion, and will be selected independent of member ratings and number of votes.Â The editorial team will judge entries on the criteria listed below.
Â All members who vote in the Competition as well as the Grand Prize judging panel must consider the following criteria equally when judging: 1) Quality of writing (including grammar and spelling); 2) Authorâ€™s ability to engage the reader; 3) Originality of the author's voice; 4) Potential of the finished book in the marketplace.
6.Â Â Â Quantity, Prize, Approximate Retail Value (ARV):
(1) Grand Prize:
$5,000 cash prize from Gather.com
All taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner; the value of the prize will be treated as ordinary income to prize recipient.
Gather.com CASHÂ PRIZE ARV: â€” $5,000
Book deal with Touchstone/Fireside (an imprint of Simon & Schuster): Touchstone/Fireside will have the exclusive rights to and commits to publication of the winning manuscript; provided that the Grand Prize winning author executes Simon & Schusterâ€™s standard publishing agreement.Â The acquisition editor from Touchstone/Fireside will contact the winner to handle all contractual agreements associated with the publication of the book once the winner is announced and notified.Â In order to be published, the Grand Prize winner must sign Simon & Schusterâ€™s standard publishing agreement within five days of receipt of the agreement. Upon execution of the standard publishing agreement, Simon & Schuster will pay the Grand Prize Winner $5,000. The $5,000 payment is an advance against the royalties to be earned by the Grand Prize winning author under the Simon & Schuster publishing agreement.Â Touchstone/Fireside will determine the royalty rates to be paid under the publishing agreement; such rates will depend on the format in which the book will be published.
BOOK DEAL ARV: â€” $5,000 advance
The winning Submission will be published no later than February of 2008.Â The book will be published in either hard cover or trade paperback at Simon & Schusterâ€™s discretion.
(4) Runners Up:
(4) $500 cash prize from Gather.com
All taxes are the sole responsibility of each winner; the value of the prize will be treated as ordinary income to prize recipient.
CASH PRIZE ARV: â€” $500
As used herein the term â€œCompetition Entitiesâ€ shall mean: Sponsor and Simon & Schuster.
CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.Â
8.Â Â Â Miscellaneous.Â If any provision of this Competition shall be deemed to violate any federal, state or municipal law, it shall be amended to conform to such law and all other provisions shall remain in full force and effect.
Sponsor, and all production and hosting agencies shall not be responsible for technical, pictorial, typographical or editorial errors or omissions in any marketing materials or these Official Rules. This Competition is conducted in American English.
9.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Dispute Resolution / Choice of Law. Except where prohibited by law, by participating in this Competition, entrant agrees that: All issues and questions concerning the Competition and these Official Rules shall be governed by Delaware law without giving effect to any principles of conflicts of law of any jurisdiction. Entrant agrees that any action at law or in equity arising out of or relating to this Competition shall be filed only in the state or federal courts located in DelawareÂ and entrant hereby consents and submits to the personal jurisdiction of such courts for the purposes of litigating any such action. Except where prohibited by law, by participating in this Competition, entrant agrees that: (a) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Competition shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; and (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with participating in this Competition but in no event attorneys' fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any entrant be permitted to obtain awards for and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â By entering this Competition, each entrant agrees that any and all disputes, claims, actions and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Competition or the prize awarded and all issues and questions concerning the validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively in a court of competent jurisdiction sitting in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred and never shall include consequential, incidental or punitive damages, and in no event attorneys' fees or "costs." Some jurisdictions do not allow the limitation or exclusion of liability for incidental or consequential damages, so the above may not apply to you.
11.Â Â Â Â Â Â Simon & Schuster as Publisher.Â Entrants acknowledge that Simon & Schuster and its respective parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies (collectively the â€œDesignated Entitiesâ€) have extensive respective histories in creating, acquiring and developing literary, artistic, musical and other material, including stories, ideas, themes, plots, titles, screenplays, manuscripts, formats and other developments and other materials (collectively, the â€œMaterialsâ€).Â Moreover the Materials which the Designated Entities may hereafter use may have originated with or may have been acquired from the Designated Entitiesâ€™ employees or others and may duplicate, parallel or resemble an entrantâ€™s Submission.
By submitting a manuscript, entrants acknowledge that they understand and agree that the Designated Entitiesâ€™ use of material containing features and elements similar to or identical with those contained in their Submission do not entitle entrant to any compensation.Â By entering, entrant waives any right of action against the Designated Entities or their successors and assigns in connection with the Designated Entitiesâ€™ use of the Material (or any part thereof) whether or not the Material contains features or elements similar or identical to those contained in entrantâ€™s Submission.
12.Â Â Â For a Winners list, check the website monthly starting March 20, 2007 at http://firstchapters.gather.com.
13.Â Â Â Sponsor: Gather Inc., 85 Devonshire Street, 3rd floor, Boston, MA 02109.Â
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The use of certain products and services as prizes does not imply participation in, or approval of, this Competition by their respective companies.