â€¢ Authors who have not previously published a full-length book in any genre (excluding self-published and vanity press) are eligible to compete in the First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. If you have had another type of book published (nonfiction, commercial fiction, etc.), you are not eligible for this competition. If you have had small excerpts published from the romance novel or any other manuscript, but have not had a complete manuscript published, you are eligible for this competition.
â€¢ Manuscript submissions must be original, previously unpublished, completed book-length manuscripts in the romance genre. Erotica is prohibited. For definitions of romance and erotica, please see the Official Rules. The maximum word count for the manuscript is 100,000 words, and the first and second chapters must each be between 2,000 and 5,000 words in length.
â€¢ All submissions 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must not violate copyright laws; must contain properly cited material, if applicable; and must be previously unpublished (except on Gather.com or as previously noted), original material.
â€¢ Writers cannot submit more than one manuscript in the competition. Any additional entries will be disregarded.
â€¢ You must be 18 or older 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. International members are not eligible to submit a manuscript, but are eligible to vote.
â€¢ Submissions may not be submitted elsewhere unless and until the entrant has been eliminated from the competition. By entering your manuscript 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.
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.
How to Enter:
Before 11:59 PM (ET) August 22, 2007, you must complete three (3) steps in order to enter The Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition:
1) You must be a registered member of Gather.com and a member of the First Chapters Romance group for your manuscript to be considered. To join Gather, click on the â€œJoin today - itâ€™s FREEâ€ button on www.gather.com and follow the instructions. Once youâ€™ve registered as a site member, visit http://romancenovel.gather.com and click â€œJoin This Groupâ€ to join the First Chapters Romance Group. If you have any trouble registering for the site and joining the First Chapters Romance Group, please email email@example.com for help. Â
2) To post the first chapter of your romance novel to Gather, click on â€œPublishâ€ at the top of any page, select â€œArticle,â€ and enter the title of your book in the article title space in the following format: â€œBook Title â€“ Chapter 1.â€ You may type your first chapter only directly into the body of the submission page or copy and paste 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 type the tag â€œromanceâ€ and under â€œWho can view my article,â€ you must select â€œEveryoneâ€ and the â€œFirst Chapters Romanceâ€ 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 August 27, when the official reading and voting period begins. Any votes cast before 12:00 AM ET on August 27 will not be considered. Any chapters edited on or after August 27 will be disqualified.
For help posting your chapter, see our publishing FAQs.
3) Email your completed manuscript as a Microsoft Word file attachment or equivalent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 manuscripts. If you have entered the competition and have not received a confirmation notice of your submission within five business days, please email email@example.com.
How The Competition Judging Will Work:
â€¢ Round 1: On August 27, the First Chapter submissions will be available for reading and voting in the First Chapters Romance group. The reading and voting period will last for three weeks, during which time members can read and rate each entry. See our new voting guidelines.
Ratings received and comments posted prior to August 27 or after September 18 will not count toward the final score. At the end of the Round 1 voting period, 25 writers will advance to the next round of competition â€“ 15 based on the highest number of â€œ10â€ ratings from Gather.com members, and 10 selected by the Gather Editorial Team.
â€¢ Round 2: The 25 semifinalists will post the 2nd chapter of their manuscripts on September 24 for a two-week reading/voting period. At the end of the voting period, 5 finalists will be announced â€“ 3 based on the highest number of â€œ10â€ ratings from Gather.com members, and 2 selected by the Gather Editorial Team.
â€¢ Round 3: The Grand Prize Judging Panel â€“ Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster Editorial Director Maggie Crawford, Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster Editor Lauren McKenna, Borders Romance Buyer Sue Grimshaw, and Gather.com Founder & CEO, Tom Gerace â€“ will select a Grand Prize Winner to receive a publishing contract with the Pocket Books imprint of Simon & Schuster, plus a $5000 cash advance and promotion and distribution by Borders. The Grand Prize Winner will be announced on October 30, 2007.
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, it is determined 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. The Editorial Team will judge entries on the criteria listed below.
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 authorâ€™s voice; 4) Potential of the finished book in the marketplace.
Contact Member Support at firstname.lastname@example.org