First Chapters Writing Competition

4 August 2007

Aspiring romance writers can enter their manuscripts in the First Chapters Writing Competition, in order to win a guaranteed publishing contract with the Pocket Books imprint of Simon & Schuster!

Detailed information is pasted below, or you can go directly to

The submission period is from tomorrow through 8/22/07.

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 To register, please visit and click on the “Join today – it’s FREE” 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 and clicking “Join This Group.”

2) If any excerpt from your Submission has been previously published on, remove it from the site.

3) Click on “Publish” at the top of any page, select “Article” and enter the title of your book in the article title space, in the following format: “Book Title – First Chapter.” 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. In the “Tags” field, you must insert the tag “romance” 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 Note: do not publish your chapter to any other Gather group or you will be disqualified.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 “Publish.” Please note that while your chapter will be “live” 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: 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. 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 Submissions will not be returned.

Eligibility: (a) Unpublished writers are eligible to compete in the Competition. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives of Gather (“Sponsor”), 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, “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.

(b) 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: “A 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: “Any 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.”

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 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 & Schuster’s standard publishing agreement within five days of receipt of the agreement.

Liz Bradley
PR for

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