Starting August 1, 2007, Gather.com is hosting a romance writing contest. Authors publish the first chapter of their finished romance on the site, and the website's readers vote for their favorite. The winner gets a publishing contract and a $5,000 advance from Simon and Schuster.
Gather.com is a site aimed at letting people discuss what's on their mind. Sort of their version of the watercooler on the internet. You must join the site to compete, but there is no charge for signing up.
They just finished their first fiction contest, and the publisher awarded two publishing contracts instead of the one guaranteed by the rules. There were some concerns about unfair voting in the first competition, but they say they've taken measures to prevent shady practices this time.
They also hint another First Chapters contest is coming, probably in another genre, so stay tuned for announcements. Remember, the contest doesn't start until August 1. You can enter until August 22, 2007.