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Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
April 24, 2009 Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

Many thanks to Bill Funk and John Bennett who shared reporting duties for April. James Brewer-Calvert takes over in May (except for Friday, May 22). If you are willing to be the reporter for that day, please let me know. And thank you in advance!

-- Susan Cobleigh

email: or phone 404.371.4444

In this Issue
Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
  • Author Marc Fitten
  • Happy Birthday!
  • Upcoming Programs

  • Curtis

    Past President Curtis Branscome

    Bill Funk, Reporter

    Mark Burnette, Photographer

    Past President Curtis Branscome presided in the absence of President Mark who was attending the District 6900 Conference at Jekyll Island. Bill Breen gave the invocation. Past President Curtis shared with us a portion of learning he has acquired as a result of English and political science majors at UNC. A companion word of "procrastinate" is "perendinate" - to put off until the day after tomorrow. (Or as Mark Twain said: "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow." Or this reporter's observation: "Why procrastinate when you can perendinate?") Past President Curtis also reminded us that we are sitting at the crossroads of two former Creek Indian trails - the Sandrown and the Shallowford - which intersect with the Georgia Railroad track nearby. The track runs along the Continental Divide which separates watersheds that drain either to the Atlantic Ocean or to the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, we learned that there are neither canaries on the Canary Islands nor on the Virgin Islands.

    Author Marc Fitten
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    by Bill Funk

    Daren Wang introduced our speaker Marc Fitten. (A brief bio is in the last edition of our announcement bulletin.) Mark's forthcoming book, Valeria's Last Stand reflects ideas formed when living in post-Soviet Hungary in the 1990s and is about a love triangle featuring senior adults. The book is being published in nine countries. Translated versions in French and German are coming out in May. Daren and Marc are personal friends and journalist colleagues. According to Daren, Marc travels lightly with his personal belongings in a grocery bag. Daren also said that Decatur owes Marc a debt of gratitude as he and Daren started working on ideas for what has become the annual Decatur Book Festival when they were returning from a similar event in Columbia, S.C.

    Mark is a new member of the North Atlanta Rotary Club and began his presentation by giving our club a Rotary banner from the Brazil club he attended as a GSE team member in 2008. He expressed appreciation to Rotary for selecting him to go to Brazil. He thinks "Service Above Self" is a motto worthy of universal emulation.

    Marc, having been trying to get his book published for years, then proceeded to pick our brains as he is seeking new marketing and business strategies for book publishing in this country. He said he had wanted to be a writer since he was age 15. We know the vicissitudes of the business world these days and publishing is no exception. Book sales are down 10 to 14 percent over the past two quarters. The three big book outlets are Barnes and Noble,, and Borders, and the latter may disappear in 2010. There are also the "Mom and Pop" or independent bookstores which sell two percent of books published. Using as an analogy the production model of Home Depot (for example, in commissioning a product with Black and Decker), Marc spoke of the "spaghetti model" publishers use to market books: publish 200 titles, and then throw them (as spaghetti) against the wall (to the public) and see which "stick" (are hits). Such an example is The Da Vinci Code and its many derivatives.

    The profit makers support the failures. Marc is trying to make the publishing process more rational. He reminded us that the publishing business is a part of the global marketplace. Europe has a larger reading population than does the US due to sheer size of its population (500 million). Marc has started his own company and beginning Wednesday will take his book to promote by visiting 100 independent booksellers for the next 12 weeks. He wants to see what these owners are doing for their communities and how they market their stock. For example, he will ascertain if they sell over the internet.

    When Marc asked for suggestions and comments, J. Tom Morgan explained that most of the sales of his self-published book for teenagers (Ignorance is No Defense) were sold through the internet. When asked if new electronic book distribution such as electronic downloading, Kindle 2, the Sony ebook, audio tapes, etc., would hurt book sales, Marc replied that perhaps for the average cost of a book at $25, publishers and booksellers could put together a packet including the book, a CD, and a digital download as on Kindle. Marc also suggested another strategy used by a friend who marketed his business book by printing on-demand copies as they were ordered.

    In honor of our speaker, a copy of his book Valeria's Last Stand will be presented to the DeKalb Library System upon its publication.

    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

    Daren Wang introduced our speaker

    Happy Birthday!
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

    • April 28: Bob Biebel
    • May 6: Tom Adams
    • May 12: Frank Carryl
    • May 14: Sara Fountain
    • May 14: Pierce Head
    • May 15: Phyllis Edwards
    • May 15: Hobby Rice
    • May 16: Betty Willis
    • May 18: Mark Treese
    • May 20: Earl Tveit
    • May 22: Davison Philips
    • May 28: Eric Norwood

    Upcoming Programs
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

    Club Announcements

    We missed a number of our members and club leaders who were with President Mark at the District 6900 Conference at Jekyll Island.

    James Brewer-Calvert invited us to a prayer vigil at the Christian Church on W. Ponce de Leon in Decatur this Tuesday, April 28 (TONIGHT) between 6 and 7 p.m. The purpose is to raise our community consciousness of the the price Jaheem Hererra, 11, paid with his life as a result of taunts by schoolmates. The hope is that we as adults can help lower the rhetoric of anti-gay and anti-immigrant statements. We recall that children model what they hear from adults. "God is Creator and all are the children of God," James said.

    The next board meeting will be May 1 at 11:30 a.m. in the board room.

    Welcoming Guests

    Guests of Rotarians were: Donna Brazzell, guest of Fred Turner; Julie Southworth, guest of J. Tom Morgan; Todd Poole, guest of Jeremy Warner; Madeline Becker, guest and daughter of C. J. Becker; and Pete Pfeiffer, guest of the club.

    Officers for Decatur Rotary:

    President - Mark Hastings

    President-Elect - Bryan Downs

    Past President - David Ewing

    Secretary - Vee Nelson

    Treasurer - Jason Conn

    Sergeant-at-Arms - Doug Torbush

    District Governor - Ted Propes

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    Join us! Decatur Rotary Club meets each Friday at noon at the Old Courthouse on the Square in downtown Decatur.

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    The four-way test of the things we think, say or do:

    Is it the TRUTH?

    Is it FAIR to all concerned?


    Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

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    Directions: Old Courthouse on the Square
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    phone: 404-371-4444
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel
    Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel