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S&S Shuts Sobel Award, Announces Contest at Gather

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S&S Shuts Sobel
Award, Announces
Contest at Gather NEW YORK, NY/1/18/2007—Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone/Fireside imprint has launched a First Chapters Writing Competition together with the social network, Gather.com. FirstChapters.gather.com will receive fiction manuscripts for evaluation by Gather.com members, a method similar to a failed effort by Time Warner some years ago.

The best five picks by readers will then be evaluated by a panel of judges to include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing President Carolyn K. Reidy, Touchstone Books Publisher Mark Gompertz, Borders CEO George Jones, and Gather.com CEO Tom Gerace. The winner will receive $5,000 and a publishing contract from Touchstone. Borders will guarantee promotion of the title.

Earlier this month, Simon & Schuster announced it had cancelled the Sobol Award for lack of contest submissions. Only 1000 manuscripts were received out of an expected 50,000 entries. Because the Sobol contest required an $85 reading fee, it had been criticized as a reading fee in disguise. The First Chapters contest has reportedly been in the works for some time and thus is not intended as a replacement for the Sobol Award, though the Gather contest was announced within days after the Sobol Award was closed.