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It’s Down to Ten Semifinalists in Writing Contest Dubbed “American Idol for Books”


NEW YORK and BOSTON - and the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster have announced ten semifinalists in the First Chapters Writing Competition. Referred to by numerous media outlets as “American Idol for Books,” the competition has received 2,676 manuscript submissions since its inception in January. The names and hometowns of the ten novelists advancing to round three are listed below, as well as online at

Geoffrey Edwards—Chicago, IL
J. M. LeTurk—San Francisco, CA
Rebeccah Ruby—San Francisco, CA
Candida Korman—New York, NY
Scott Middlemist—Phoenix, AZ
Geeta Menon—Los Altos, CA
Robert Moscoso—Forest Hills, NY
Stephen Prosapio—Oceanside, CA
Rachel Schipul—Houston, TX
Terry Shaw—Knoxville, TN
“The positive response to this competition has exceeded even our wildest expectations,” says Tom Gerace, founder and Chief Executive Officer ( “We are truly excited to be able to provide the opportunity for our members to showcase their remarkable writing.”

The third chapters of the ten semifinalists’ manuscripts will be reviewed and rated by the community and the Editorial team. On May 23rd, five finalists will be selected--four by members and one Editor’s Choice. The manuscripts of the five finalists will be evaluated by an esteemed judging panel who will select one talented novelist as the Grand Prize Winner on May 31st.

“The First Chapters competition has been instrumental in allowing Touchstone to leverage the power of social media to identify new writing talent,” commented Mark Gompertz, Executive Vice President and Publisher, Touchstone. “The feedback has been tremendously successful and we are very much looking forward to publishing the winner.”

In addition to receiving a guaranteed publishing contract and distribution with Touchstone, the winner’s book will receive significant promotion at Borders®, the official bookseller of As the retail sponsor of, Borders, Inc., a leading retailer of books, music, movies and stationery items, is promoting the First Chapters competition via email to its millions of Borders Reward® members.

“The competition 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.”

The Grand Prize winner will be awarded a guaranteed publishing contract with Touchstone and a $5000 cash prize from The winning book will be available wherever books are sold.

On May 31, the judging panel will select one talented novelist as the Grand Prize Winner!

The Judging Panel:

Carolyn K. Reidy, President of the Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Mark Gompertz, Executive Vice President & Publisher of Touchstone Books
George Jones, CEO, Borders Group
Tom Gerace, Founder & CEO,


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