Submissions may only be made in or from the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and Submissions originating from any other jurisdiction are not eligible for entry.Â This Competition is governed exclusively by the laws of Massachusetts and of the United States.Â You are not authorized to participate in the Competition if you are not located within the 50 United States or the District of Columbia.Â To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years of age or the age of majority in the jurisdiction of your residence. You are not authorized to participate in the Competition if you are not at least 18 years old or the age of majority in the jurisdiction of your residence as of August 22, 2007.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. The Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition (the â€œCompetitionâ€) is sponsored by Gather (â€œGatherâ€), 85 Devonshire Street, 3rd fl., Boston, MA, 02109.Â
1.Â Â Competition Period: The 2007 Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition (the â€œCompetitionâ€) manuscript entry period runs from 9:00 AM EST, August 1, 2007 to 11:59 PM EST, August 22, 2007. Sponsorâ€™s computer clock governs time stamp.
2.Â Â Â Eligibility: (a) Unpublished writers are eligible to compete in the Competition.Â Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives of Gather (â€œSponsorâ€), American Public Media Group, Minnesota Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, 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, â€œCompetition Entitiesâ€), 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.
(b)Â Entries must be original, previously unpublished (excluding self-published and vanity press), completed book-length manuscripts in the Romance genre from authors who have not previously published a full-length book. Note: for this competition, romance as a genre is defined as follows: â€œA story, focusing on the relationship between a man and a woman, which captures the joy of falling in love. The setting can be anywhere from the distant past to the present day, or in a paranormal realm. Erotica is not permitted. Erotica as a genre is defined as follows: â€œAny work of fiction that is sexually explicit in nature. The sexual language is expressed in candid, adult terms, and the graphic love scenes are high in volume per the overall word count.â€
All entries must be in English. 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 or at least the age of majority in your state of residence as of August 22, 2007 and must be a legal resident of the United States or the District of Columbia to be eligible to enter. Entries may not be submitted elsewhere unless and until the entrant has been eliminated from the Competition. By submitting your entry in the Competition, you hereby give Pocket Books (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 entry in the Competition. This Competition is run only on the Internet. Participants in previous First Chapters Writing Competitions are eligible to submit a romance manuscript. 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 11:59PM (EST) August 22, 2007, you must complete the following in order to enter this Competition:
1) Be a registered member of Gather.com. To register, please visit http://www.gather.com and click on the â€œJoin today â€“ itâ€™s FREEâ€ button. You must create a user profile that contains your full name, your hometown, and a valid e-mail address. You must also join the First Chapters Romance group by going to http://romancenovel.gather.com and clicking â€œJoin This Group.â€Â
2) If any excerpt from your Submission has been previously published on Gather.com, remove it from the site.
3) Click on â€œPublishâ€ at the top of any page, select â€œArticleâ€ and enter the title of your book in the article title space, in the following format: â€œBook Title â€“ First Chapter.â€ You may type your first chapter only directly into the body of the submission page or copy and paste in your entry if you have written it elsewhere. The chapter should be between 2,000 and 5,000 words in length.Â In the â€œTagsâ€ field, you must insert the tag â€œromanceâ€ and under "Who can view my article," you must select "Everyone" and the "First Chapters Romance" Group. Note: do not publish your chapter to any other Gather group or you will be disqualified. Click â€œPublish.â€ Please note that while your chapter will be â€œliveâ€ on the website, it will not appear in the First Chapters Romance group until the reading and voting period begins on August 27. Any votes cast before 12:00 AM EST will not be considered. Any chapters edited on or after August 27 will be disqualified.
For help posting your chapter, see our publishing FAQs.
4) Email your completed romance manuscript as an MS Word file attachment or equivalent to: email@example.com. The length of the completed manuscript must not exceed 100,000 words, and chapters 1 and 2 should each be between 2,000 and 5,000 words. The manuscript 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 attach the first two (2) chapters, sequentially, in a separate document.The subject of your email should read First Chapters Romance Competition Entry. In the email body you must include:
1. Your full, legal name (first, last)
2. Email address
3. Phone number
4. Manuscript title
5. Manuscript word count
6. Gather.com username
7. A hyperlink to your article URL on the Gather website
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 five business days, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will not be returned.
If you have any trouble registering for the site and the First Chapters Romance group, please email email@example.com for help.
Note:The 25 semifinalists will be contacted on or before September 24, 2007, and will be required to publish their second chapter to the First Chapters Romance Group on Gather between 11:00 AM and 11:15 AM EST on September 24. If you are unable to post your second chapter at this time, the Sponsor reserves the right to post your second chapter on your behalf.
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 the original manuscript and biographical information you provide (except street address, telephone number, and email address) during the Competition; iii) represent and warrant that you own or have exclusive rights to the entirety of the entry and have the right to grant to Sponsor temporary rights to post excerpts of submitted entry; (iv) represent and warrant that you have not used licensed material or any material owned by someone other than you [unless you have obtained written permission to do so and have properly credited the source]; and (v) represent and warrant that your entry is original and you have not copied or plagiarized the content or portions of text for your entry from other material. You further agree that you will not submit your entry with any other publisher or in any other Competition until you have been notified by Gather that your entry 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.Â 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.
Gather reserves the temporary publication rights to publish excerpts of all entries. Sponsor reserves the right to request that twenty-five (25) semifinalists and five (5) finalists engage in additional Competition-related activities including, but not limited to, author interviews, blog posts, recorded author readings, live chats with members, and video posts.
5.Â Â Â Judging and Winner Selection: The Competition will run in three (3) stages:
August 1, 2007:Launch of Competition: 22-day submission period for entrants to submit their original, completed, book-length manuscripts in the romance genre via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and post their first chapter to the First Chapters Romance group.
August 22, 2007, 11:59 PM EST: Â Submission period ends.
August 27, 2007: 23-day reading and voting period begins. All eligible Submissions will be released into the First Chapters Romance group for reviewing and rating at this time. Ratings and comments made before 12:00 AM EST August 27 will not be considered.
September 18, 2007, 11:59 PM EST: Round One voting period ends.
September 24, 2007: 25 Round One Semifinalists are announced. 15 semifinalists will be determined by the highest number of â€œ10â€ votes by Gather members, and 10 will be determined by Gatherâ€™s Editorial Committee. Note: In the event of a tie in the number of â€œ10â€ ratings, the entrant with the most comments from unique members on his/her chapter will proceed to the next round.
September 24, 2007: Voting period begins on the second chapters submitted by the 25 semifinalists.
October 8, 2007, 11:59 PM EST: Round Two voting period ends.
October 11, 2007: 5 Finalists are announced. 3 finalists will be determined by the highest number of â€œ10â€ votes by Gather members, and 2 finalists will be determined by Gatherâ€™s Editorial Committee.
October 10, 2007:The submissions of the 5 finalists will be sent to the Grand Prize Judging Panel for review. The members of the panel include: Maggie Crawford, Editorial Director, Pocket Books, Lauren McKenna, Editor, Pocket Books, Sue Grimshaw, Romance Buyer, Borders Group, Inc. and Tom Gerace, Founder & CEO, Gather.com. The Grand Prize Judging Panel will select one (1) Grand Prize Winner to receive a $5000 cash advance for the publication of his/her Submission by Pocket Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster).Â
October 30, 2007:Grand Prize Winner announced.
Simon & Schuster reserves the right to review all Submissions from Round Two (i.e. the 25 semifinalists) to determine the Grand Prize Winner.Â Â
Notes on Judging: Gather will monitor the Competition for irregular voting patterns and fraud, and will disqualify votes and entrants if, in 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. Entrants are not allowed to vote on their own Submissions. In addition, Gather will work with an independent party to certify the results of the community voting.
The editorial committee winners throughout the Competition will be selected at the Gather.com editorial committeeâ€™s discretion, and will be selected independent of member ratings and number of votes. The editorial committee will judge entries on the criteria listed below.
The Sponsor encourages all members who vote in the Competition to consider the following criteria: 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.
Any author who removes a comment associated with his/her Submission will be disqualified. However, authors may post comments on their chapters if they wish.
6.Â Â Â Quantity, Prize, Approximate Retail Value (ARV):
(1) Grand Prize:
Publishing contract with Pocket Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Pocket Books will have the exclusive right to and commits to publication of the winning manuscript, provided that the Grand Prize winning author executes Simon & Schusterâ€™s standard publishing agreement. The acquisition editor from Pocket Books will contact the Grand Prize Winner to handle all contractual agreements associated with the publication of the book once the winner is announced and notified. 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 Pocket Books 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. All taxes are the sole responsibility of the winners; the value of the prize will be treated as ordinary income to prize recipient.
PUBLISHING CONTRACT ARV: â€” $5,000 advance against royalties
The winning Submission will be published no later than July 31, 2008. The book will be published in Mass Market size.
(4) Runners Up:
(4) $500 cash prize from Gather
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, Simon & Schuster Inc., and Borders Group Inc.
8.Â Â 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.
9.Â Â Â 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.
10.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 attorneysâ€™ fees or â€œcosts.â€ 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 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 Massachusetts 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 MassachusettsÂ 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 attorneysâ€™ 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.
13.Â Â Â Â Entrants acknowledge that Simon & Schuster and its 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 manuscript.
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 manuscript do not entitle entrant to any compensation. 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.
14.Â Â Â For a Winners list, check the website monthly starting September 24, 2007 at http://romancenovel.gather.com.
15.Â Â Â Sponsor: Gather, 85 Devonshire Street, 3rd floor, Boston, MA 02109.
16. Competition Entities:Â Simon & Schuster Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020; Borders Group Inc., 100 Phoenix Drive, Ann Arbor, MI, 48108
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 Competitionby their respective companies.
Contact Member Support at email@example.com