IN A SURPRISE MOVE, SIMON & SCHUSTER/TOUCHSTONE AWARDS TWO PUBLISHING CONTRACTS IN GATHER.COM WRITING CONTEST DUBBED "AMERICAN IDOL FOR BOOKS"
Quality of Submissions Drives Judges to Award a Second Book Contract
NEW YORK, New York/BOSTON, Mass., May 31, 2007 -Gather.com, the leader in social media for adults, and the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster, a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, today announced Terry Shaw as the winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Writing Competition. As the Grand Prize Winner, Shaw received a guaranteed publishing contract from Simon & Schuster. In a surprise move, due to the tremendous quality of the submissions received, Simon & Schuster decided to award a second publishing contract to runner-up contestant Geoffrey Edwards. Referred to by numerous media outlets as "American Idol for Books," the First Chapters competition received 2,676 manuscript submissions since its inception in January. Shaw's novel, The Way Life Should Be, and Edward's novel, Fire Bell in the Night, will both be published in September 2007 and both books will be available for purchase at bookstores nationwide, and at Borders, the bookseller for Gather.com.
"Just before Christmas I was told by an agent that it was ‘just impossible to sell a first novel, unless you're a celebrity or have the flavor of the month,'" said Terry Shaw. "A few weeks later, I read about the First Chapters' contest in The New York Times and thought it sounded like a great opportunity to make use of a new medium to sell a book. Needless to say, I'm glad I gave it a shot! I'm also grateful to the Gather.com community for providing me with the platform to be discovered by a publisher like Simon & Schuster."
Shaw's novel, The Way Life Should Be, tells the story of a modern-day newspaper editor who investigates his best friend's death in a coastal Maine town, while Edward's novel, Fire Bell in the Night, is a character-driven historical thriller set in the antebellum south.
"It is so empowering to have just been discovered by one of the world's greatest publishers," said Geoffrey Edwards. "I am so grateful to the Gather.com community for the support, encouragement and votes that I have received over the last five months."
"It was a pleasant surprise to discover that the Gather.com community had done their job so well that in the end we decided to go with a grand prize winner and a runner up," commented Mark Gompertz, Executive Vice President, Publisher, Touchstone. "We look forward to publishing both of these terrific novels in the fall."
"The enthusiasm around the First Chapters Writing Competition has been tremendous," says Tom Gerace, Gather.com founder and Chief Executive Officer (tom.gather.com). "The collective voice of Gather.com members has identified, elevated and amplified the voice of two outstanding novelists who had yet to be heard."
In addition to receiving a guaranteed publishing contract and distribution with Touchstone, the winning books will receive significant promotion at Borders®, a leading retailer of books, music, movies and stationery items. As the official bookseller of Gather.com, Borders, Inc. will also promote the books via email to its millions of Borders Reward® members.
"First Chapters is perfectly aligned to our mission to be a headquarters for knowledge and entertainment," said Borders Group Chief Marketing Officer Michael Tam. "We celebrate new and emerging authors and always want to help them gain visibility and recognition."
Following three rounds of judging by the Gather.com community, the winning manuscripts were selected by an esteemed judging panel, including Carolyn K. Reidy, President of the Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group; Mark Gompertz, Executive Vice President & Publisher of Touchstone Books; George Jones, CEO and President, Borders Group and Tom Gerace, Founder & CEO, Gather.com.
About Terry Shaw, Grand Prize Winner, Gather.com First Chapters Writing Competition
Terry Shaw, 44, is the author of The Way Life Should Be, for which he was named Grand Prize Winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Writing Competition. Shaw first began writing in grade school as a way to entertain his classmates and later used his writing talent as an editor for several newspapers, including The Times-Record in Brunswick, Maine and the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York. Shaw holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and English from Penn State and he currently resides in Knoxville, TN with his wife Beth. Additional information about Shaw can be found at terrys7.gather.com.
About Geoffrey Edwards, Runner-up, Gather.com First Chapters Writing Competition
Geoffrey Edwards, 30, is the author of Fire Bell in the Night, for which he was named Runner-up in the Gather.com First Chapters Writing Competition. Edwards first began writing in the eighth grade to enter the Florida Times Union Christmas Story contest. He holds an undergraduate degree, with a major in History, from the University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana and he currently lives in Chicago, IL with his wife Anne. Additional information about Edwards can be found at geoffreye.gather.com.
About Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster, a part of the CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at http://www.simonsays.com/.
Gather.com is the leader in social media for adults. Gather.com members connect around shared interests ranging from politics to books and from cooking to travel, and they're compensated for their activity on the site. Members can engage in conversation with state and local politicians, health and financial experts, personal coaches, bestselling authors, and more. Over one million people visit Gather.com each month to read content created by Gather.com members. Gather.com has a highly educated, highly informed adult audience membership -- a demographic elusive to most social networking sites. This demographic has made Gather.com an exceptional partner to media companies, advertising agencies, leading consumer brands, book publishers, and movie studios. Gather.com is a privately held, privately funded company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Investors include Allen & Company, The American Public Media Group, Hearst, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and Southern California Public Radio. For more information, visit Gather.com or call (617) 720-4000, x1032.
About Borders, Inc.
Borders is a subsidiary of Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP) a $4.1 billion retailer of books, music, movies and stationery items that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BGP. Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Borders Group, through its subsidiaries, operates more than 1,300 Borders and Waldenbooks stores and employs more than 32,000 people worldwide who serve more than 30 million customers each year. More information on the company is available at http://www.bordersgroupinc.com/.