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Touchstone/Simon & Schuster and Announce Web-Based Writing Competition for Guaranteed Publishing Contract

Publisher Leverages Power of Social Media to Find America's Next Great Writer



NEW YORK, New York/BOSTON, Mass., Jan. 11, 2007 -, the leader in social media for adults, and the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster, a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, announce the First Chapters Writing Competition. Beginning today, members will have the opportunity to submit fiction manuscripts to be evaluated and voted on by a community of readers, writers and aspiring authors at The community will select five finalists through a series of three voting rounds, after which a Grand Prize winner will be chosen by a panel of judges including Carolyn K. Reidy, President of the Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group and Mark Gompertz, Executive Vice President and Publisher of Touchstone Books, the imprint publishing the winner, Borders Group CEO George Jones and Founder and CEO Tom Gerace. The Grand Prize winner will be awarded a $5000 cash prize from and a guaranteed publishing contract with Touchstone.


"Simon & Schuster is dedicated to finding good writers wherever we can," noted Carolyn Reidy. "It's very exciting to begin using the internet as one of the tools we use to do that."


" is the most interesting and exciting social networking site on the internet," commented Mark Gompertz, Executive Vice President and Publisher, Touchstone. "The quality of their user-generated content is first rate. We believe that out of this impressive and creative membership, and with the three successive rounds of voting stimulating reader interest prior to publication, that we will find a great new author to bring to the public's attention." Through Touchstone and Simon & Schuster the winner's book will be available wherever books are sold.


In addition to receiving a guaranteed publishing contract and distribution with Touchstone, the winner's book will receive significant promotion at Border's, the official bookseller of As the retail sponsor of, Borders, Inc., a leading retailer of books, music, movies and stationery items, will also promote the First Chapters competition via email to its 15 Million Borders' reward members. 


"Amongst the millions of Borders customers there are many exceptionally talented writers, we are excited to give them access to the First Chapters Writing Competition and to give all of our customers the opportunity to enjoy their talent," said Borders Group Chief Marketing Officer Michael Tam.


"We are very excited to work with Simon & Schuster to give aspiring writers a launching pad for their careers as professional authors," said Founder and CEO Tom Gerace. "It's a thrill to have the Gather community actively participating in choosing one of our members to be published by such a prestigious publishing house."


All First Chapters contestants are required to have completed a manuscript in order to participate in the contest and all manuscripts must be works of commercial fiction. For more information on the First Chapters Writing Competition please visit




Round one

January 07

Submission of chapter one excerpts - voting by community


Round two

April 07

Posting of second chapter excerpts - voting by community


Round three

May 07

Posting of third chapter excerpts - voting by community


Finalist Judging

May 24 - May 31, 2007

Voting on 5 finalists by Grand Prize Judging Panel 


Grand prize winner announcement

May 31, 2007




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


About Borders, Inc.

Borders is a subsidiary of Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP) a $4 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 34,000 people worldwide who serve more than 30 million customers each year.  More information on the company is available at


About ( is the leader in social media for adults. members are rewarded for their participation with Gather Points TM or even cash for top contributors. is led by an all-star team of industry veterans with extensive experience in building highly successful, Internet-based companies and creating relevant content. The site was named the winner of the Media/Portal category in the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX), 2005 annual awards-the largest awards competition in the country that recognizes achievements in the development and implementation of interactive technologies. is a privately held, privately funded company headquartered in Boston. For more information, visit