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The case for Publishing & (with) Nsemia Inc. Publishers

By Matunda Nyanchama

Download the .pdf version of this speech

October 1st, 2010[1]

“I put forward formless and unresolved notions, as do those who publish doubtful questions to debate in the schools, not to establish the truth but to seek it.” – Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), French essayist.

I want to thank Professor Njoki Wane for this opportunity to meet with you and share our experiences and explore ways we can possibly collaborate in the business of publishing; this is a subject that I am sure is dear and close to your hearts as academics and teachers. It is very dear to me and hence the reason I am in the business.

Publishing is mainly about the capture, recording and transmission of knowledge. It offers a chance for us to share with others, in the present and in the future, that which we know/observe. It is especially needed in the fast-paced world that we live in today. Most of you can testify that today, we don’t have nearly enough time for ourselves, let alone sit around the fireside and tell tales from a long time ago, as did our ancestors.

Rather, we find ourselves in far-flung places, interacting with people unrelated to us but with whom we share common interests that bring us together. In such reality we need substantial effort to capture, record and transmit that which we know and learn.

Nsemia Inc. Publishers: who we are

As a way of introduction, you have been told my name: Matunda Nyanchama. My background is in engineering and computer science, and information technology in general. I specialize in information security, which pays my bills. I also have considerable passion for the capture, recording, articulation and transmission of knowledge in any form that can be communicated to others, now and in the future.

We started Nsemia Inc. Publishers more than four years ago. Initially, we wanted to help, especially, non-mainstream writers reach their audiences. We long realized the impediments that that (especially) young and upcoming writers face with established publishers. This is especially so when subjects may deviate from what is traditional with those established publishers.

Charles Caleb Colton, who lived a number of centuries ago captures the challenge authors face when he says that:

“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.” – Charles Caleb Colton quotes (English sportsman and writer, 1780-1832)

It is our intention to be the voice of the voiceless – the honest “people” that would publish others’ works, and especially for non-mainstream authors; it is our commitment to give opportunities to those that today don’t have the chances they need and deserve. We expect that, in that process, we can contribute to knowledge recording and transmission, even if for posterity, and hence our motto: bringing untold stories.

We constantly face the question of whether there is room for yet another publisher in the space we are targeting. And what with the proliferation of technology when self-publishing has become extremely easy? Our answer is simple: there is too much un-captured knowledge that we need to capture and hence there is room for, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of publishers. The challenge is to find a good niche for our brand and ensure that we can distinguish ourselves from others that compete in the space.

Why publish?

I may be preaching to the choir when I speak of the need to publish. I am sure that scholars like you have a very good understanding of the need to get published. In the academic world, which I share with you, we have the mantra: publish or perish.

As academics, as a necessity, you must publish in order to enhance your career and justify the position(s) you occupy. As society, we expect that you will pursue productive research whose outcomes would be shared with peers and beyond; these would serve you and society well, underlining your contribution to society.

That said publishing goes beyond career advancement. Writing can make you famous. For instance president Barack Obama, aside from winning the American Presidency, is also an outstanding author, something that made him famous before he ran for public office, and perhaps assisted his successful run for the White House.

Further, publishing can help secure your rights. Releasing your work for publication puts a stamp on your ownership of the associated intellectual property. This would forestall situations that arise where others may claim rights to your work. I am told there have been cases where professors have been accused of appropriating their students’ work. Now imagine you published the results of your research, you would be ahead in terms of potential claims to your work.

I must reiterate the issue of recording knowledge for posterity’s sake. It is a passion for me and I would like you to underline this point and for good reasons: I believe that we are duty bound to serve humanity and we do so by leaving this world a better place than we found it. Advancing knowledge and leaving “something” for posterity is one way of leaving the world a better place than we found it.

It is even more pertinent considering the humbling fact that we are here for only a snapshot of time. Like happened to our forefathers, our time on earth would come to pass, and perhaps faster than we ever imagined. It behoves us, therefore, to leave future generations the benefit of our experiences and insights. This would help them not reinvent the wheel when their time comes. Remember, all progress is a culmination of incremental knowledge application. And rapid progress happens when there is a confluence of synergistic ideas that usher in changes like we have seen technology realize for humanity.

Finally, on the subject of why you need to publish is the possibility of making some money. You may never know whether that book you write may one day become a best seller, triggered by a confluence of factors.

In this respect again, Barack Obama is a good example. I am not sure he imagined Dreams from my Father would one day become a best seller when he was penning the work back in the 1990s.

Well, it could be your work that could becomes a future hit at some juncture, at a confluence of some factors in the future.

What we have published to date

In the past short while of our existence, we have published works of fiction (novels) and poetry (search Nsemia Inc. on amazon.com) for a complete catalogue. Although English is the main language of publication, we have recently released a novel in Gikuyu, one of Kenya’s indigenous languages. We also have an upcoming work in Kiswahili while there are other works under consideration written in other languages. As well, we are contemplating translations into languages like French and Spanish, where it makes sense to do so.

We have also called for biographical works: biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. As well, we have recently sought to publish academic theses, which I will speak to later.

Our catchment source is firming up around the regions of Africa, North America and the Caribbean.  We have works published and under review from Barbados and Jamaica; Egypt, Botswana and South Africa; Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. We believe that our expanse would continue to grow.

Although we are Canadian-based, most of our works are by African and Africa-Caribbean authors. This is more by design rather than accident for reasons that, today, the African continent is perhaps the last frontier for cultural mining and story-telling. The challenge we have as Africans, both on the continent and in the Diaspora, is to tell our stories in our language: in our words, in our interpretation and in our perspective. This is important because for too long, others have spoken on our behalf. And often, in speaking on our behalf, they have misrepresented us for they wear lenses coloured by their foreign, and in some respects, alien experiences. Often they analyze their observations using their own templates, rather than our own; and use their “vocabulary” that is substantially unrelated to ours.

In essence, we largely don’t own our story-telling.

So we have been calling for African tales, and especially those of challenges and heroic successes. We are asking for capture of tales from far back and ones that portray the struggles and triumphs of our people. (By the way people ask me how one can capture such tales when memories are long-faded and those closer to origins of the legends have long died. I say, create even fictionalized accounts of the same and let’s have the debate on the content and the merits, or otherwise, of publishing such works and in the form described. With debate, we would gain other perspectives.
Call to Action

By now you may be asking “what is in it for me” as a graduate student at OISE?

There are many ways you can engage with us. You can work with us an author, reader, editor or book reviewer.

As a start, be an author and send us the poetry, works of fiction and any other works you deem interesting. Don’t forget biographies, personal and those of others. We are constantly accepting manuscripts for review and recommendations; we accept some. In many respects, authors are asked to make improvements on some while a few get rejected all the same. The fact is that if you have a good story to tell, we are likely to be a good avenue to your audience.

Nsemia Inc. Publishers is always looking for readers. These are people that read and advise on acceptability of pieces of work submitted to us. Readers have the privilege of appraising material in its raw form and make substantive, effectual recommendations that shape the substance and form of a piece of work once fully finalized. Readers play a similar role to peer reviewers in academic publications.

As well, we can engage you as an editor if your line of expertise coincides with the work under preparation for publication. Editors play a crucial role in shaping the outcome of a piece of work; the quality of a final piece of work largely depends on diligence of an editor. They work closely with the author to ensure that the “story-telling” is well told and that it can capture the attention of the intended audience.

You could also help us in the last stages of manuscript preparation: copy editing. Here you would summon your knowledge of the language and its syntax. This would allow you to walk through edited text with a fine “comb” looking for missing punctuation, poor sentence structure, etc. We welcome inquiries on this from people that know the language well and can help finesse manuscripts in readiness for release as books.

You can also do book reviews for us. These may be reviews of books we have released or about to release for purposes of raising visibility in the market. We also accept book reviews from other publishers but these should have synergy with our works. (NB: if you would like to a review of a non-Nsemia Inc. Publishers book, ensure to consult in advance on acceptability of the publication of your review.

Back to getting published

My advice is that as you write your thesis; consider submitting it for publication as a book soon after your examination and acceptance by your academic committee. This is an area we have recently resolved to get into. We believe that there are opportunities for our academic researchers to find a way to readers beyond academic conferences and journals.

As you prepare to submit your thesis for publication we suggest you consider working with us to do a book format. The process for doing so goes thus: submit an abstract of the work, a preface, chapter headings, along with a short description of each chapter, and a bibliography.

This process is important in order for us to evaluate the work, its contribution and overall alignment with our approach to publishing. Once your submission is accepted, we then assign an editor to work with to prepare the material for publication.

In Summary

We outlined the need to get published, which include name recognition, career enhancement and contribution to the humanity’s collective knowledge repository. We discussed some roles you can play in our publishing business, including being authors, readers, editors and book reviewers. We also made the case why you may wish to publish with us.

I thank for the time you spared to listen to me; I encourage you to go out there and send us some quality work to put in the market.

Before I take questions, I would leave the following as food for thought:

“In matters of truth the fact that you don’t want to publish something is, nine times out of ten, a proof that you ought to publish it.”

– Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936), British author.

Many thanks!

Matunda Nyanchama is a past president of Kenyan Community Abroad and a partner at Nsemia Inc. Publishers, a Canadian-based, Africa-focused publishing business. He can be reached at Matunda@nsemia.com


[1] Remarks to Graduate Students at Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) October 1st, 2010

Comments

Comment from Jared Nyaberi
Time: October 4, 2010, 9:14 pm

Thanks Dr. Nyanchama for pointing out the tremendous opportunities now available to record and capture our stories, biographies, culture and our way of life for posterity. Our continent of Africa is a writer’s gold mine that has yet to be exploited for it’s goodies.

Biographies of our famous people, leaders and nationalists have yet to be written. Not much has been recorded regarding our disappearing languages. Folk tales, riddles, history, and customs are hard to come by in written form.

Nsemia Publishers is going to bridge the gap between aspiring writers and where to publish their work. I appreciate this great avenue that is available to us. I will let you know when my manuscript is ready sometime. May God bless all writers.

Jared Nyaberi for Gusii.com.

Comment from Dr. Richard S. Nyangosi
Time: October 21, 2010, 5:56 am

Dr.Matunda,
Thank you for articulating rightly issues which presently need attention. This is what an informed generation need to be identified with. Increase information circulation and contributing good,needed and consumable ideas and theories to enlighten the generations to come.
Richard Sawe Nyangosi, PhD

Comment from Elijah Nyarangi
Time: October 27, 2010, 8:11 am

This is encouraging. I wish to be involved.
Eliijah.

Comment from Enock Bitugi Matundura
Time: March 22, 2011, 9:02 am

I am one of the beneficiaries of the Nsemia Publishers. Inc. Dr. Matunda Nyanchama was courageous enough to publish my book – Kivuli cha Sakawa (Sakawa’s Ghost) last year. This was after Kenyan publishers had avoided the work like some plague. But waht is interesting, a similar work, in the same genre of cultural heroes – which I authored as an undergraduate student – Mkasa wa Shujaa Liyongo is very popular in our local primary schools, and even at University for M.A. students. Published in 2001, Mkasa wa Shujaa Liyongo is in its 7nth reprint. I am sure that Kivuli cha Sakawa, is also going to curve a niche for itself. It is a story about a Gusii Cultural Hero – Sakawa Ng’iti. As Dr. Nyanchama rightly puts it in his write up, this story has never been documented, So if we did not do it, chances are that it could be lost forever – by vanishing from memory.
In short, Nsemia is doing society and humanity at lare a great service. Long live Nsemia.

Enock Matundura, Chuka University College, Kenya.

Comment from Timothy Kinoti M’ngaruthi
Time: May 16, 2011, 2:05 pm

Thanks for the good work you are doing. I am the author of ‘Fasihi Simulizi na Utamaduni’ (Jomo Kenyatta Foundation, 2008). This is an oral literature book currently being used in secondary schools and universities in Kenya and abroad. I have a ready manuscript comprising 88 own-composed Kiswahili poems, notes on analysis of poems, a glossary and references. According to peer readers and trained editors the work is good for publication. Two publishing firms in Kenya have been reluctant to publish them. Please advice me on how i can publish with you.

Comment from Emmanuel Oshilonya
Time: December 30, 2011, 4:51 am

Thanks for the ventilation you have created for young upcoming writers. I am a young Nigerian budding writer waiting to be heard. I have finished my second manuscript and it’s all about the Nigerian culture and the changes in our lives brought about by the trend in our local political life and culture. How can I reachout to the world through your publishing largese? I mean submission of manuscript and otherwise.

Comment from Matunda Nyanchama
Time: December 31, 2011, 1:53 pm

Emmanuel

Send your inquiry to info@nsemia.com; you can send your manuscript to the same or to manuscripts@nsemia.com.

Happy New Year.

Comment from Thomas Ndonyo Osoro
Time: December 31, 2011, 11:04 pm

Thanks for this space. I have always looked for a place to publish articles about our culture, philosophy, etc.

Comment from Erick Livumbazi Ngoda
Time: October 17, 2012, 6:20 am

I have just heard about Nsemia for the first time from a friend. I am a published children’s author from Kenya. I wonder how long it takes for you to read, review and reach a decision on a submitted manuscript. I have manuscripts that have been with various publishers for close to TWO YEARS!!!! and all they do is take you around in circles…the editor is on maternity leave, we are still reading it(a forty page children’s picture book, for over a year!!?) then some demand for some money to be able to review, etc, etc….Just how long on the average, does it take with Nsemia?

Comment from Makora, Naphtali
Time: December 29, 2012, 7:17 am

Dr. Nyanchama,
This publishing undertaking is a breath of fresh air to those unnoticed aspiring authors. I read your introduction with relish. It is inspiring. Thank you.

Having thus commented allow me to introduce a work I recently completed and think it could be a worthy read by many in the Diaspora. It is a work on accents inspired by my own personal accentedness experiential diverse encounter reactions from those who are the majority speakers of the popular English dialects.

Abstract
Makora, N. M. Foreign Accents: Accented English speech Among Kisii-Kenyans in the USA (2012)
This research is on foreign accents. The researcher-author – a non-native fluent English speaker discovered through a lit-review that all people speak in accent. This research focused on attitudinal self-accented speech perceptions of Kisii-Kenyans in the USA and further investigated what North American English (NAE) speakers’ perceptions are toward the Kisii-Kenyan accentedness. Two groups participated in this study. First, college educated Kisii-Kenyan adults, and second, NAE speakers participated in the study. A likert scale type of questionnaire was used to collect data from the first group and was analyzed for result. The second group listened to speech clips from two Kisii-Kenyan volunteers and hence assessed their accentedness and intelligibility. The findings revealed Kisii-Kenyans’ perceptions of themselves as confident and positive in their accented English speech. On the American perceptions it is not conclusive, and the assessments do not reveal any validity of judging Kisii-Kenyans as incomprehensible and unintelligible.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments ……………………………………………………….iv

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ——————————————————–1

My Background ………………………………………………………….1
“I don’t hear you” incident encounter ……………………………………3
Stories of experience from other Kenyans ………..……………………..4
GAJON, PhD……….……………………………………………………5
BOMAGE, PhD …………………………………………………………5
A Community Concern about Their Own Accented English …….………6
Foreign Accents Studies …….. …………………………………………7
Motivation for the study ………………………………………………….9
What is the Goal of Studying Foreign Accented Speech? ……. ………10

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ———————————————–13

Introduction ……………………………………………………………..13
Background – The Kisii-Kenyans ……………………………………….14
What is accent? ……………………………………………………………………………..16
Why is the study of foreign accent necessary? …………………… ……17
What is the basis of accent alteration? …………………………………..19
Illustrative example of how accent affects many foreign students
in USA institutions ……………………………………………19
The TEAM Project ………………………………………………………23
Natives’ attitudes toward foreign accented speech ………………………26
A Summary of a few critical scholarly research papers –
on accents to validate a gap in the present study …………………………..33
Perceived Comprehensibility, Intelligibility and Foreign-
Accentedness – are they correlated? …………………………………….33
Do Language Attitudes Determine Accent? ……………………………..35
Instrument and Procedure ………………………………………………..36
Rating the collected data …………………………………………………37
Result ……………………………………………………………………….37
Does Accent Matter? ……………………………………………………..38
Accent Scaling and Language Attitudes …………………………………39
Accent comprehension under adverse listening conditions …………………40

First Experiment …………………………………………………………..40
What did the research find in the first experimental test? ……………………..41
Second Experiment …………………………………………………………….41
Outcome findings ……………………………………………………………42
Other contributors in this literature review on accents .…………………….42
Is there a valid gap for the present research study?………………….………43
Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………45

CHAPTER 3 METHODS ——————————————————————–47

Introduction – What is the rationale of this section of the research project? ..47
Research Paradigm ..……………………………..………………….48
Setting: ..………………………………………………………………………49
Participants …………………………………………………………………….49
Part 1 (See Appendix A, p. 59) ……………………………………………………49
Data Collection ………………………………………………………………….50
Part 2 – Linguistics (Phonology) Cont……… ………………………………..52
Intelligibility Assessment Scale …………………………………………….53
Conclusion …………………………………………………………………..53

CHAPTER 4 RESULTS ———————————————————————54

Introduction —————————————————————————54
Analysis of data – Part 1 ..…………………………………………………..54
Participant-respondents …………………………………………………….54
Analysis of the cross-sectional survey ..……………………………………..56
Analysis of data – Part 2 – Speech listening and assessment ..……………..60
Speech Ratings and Analysis ..……………………………………………..61
Analysis and discussion ..…………………………………………………..62
The speaker-participants …. ..………………………………………………62
Rating the speeches and speakers .…………………………………………63
Conclusion …..………………………………………………………………….65

CONCLUSION ——————————————————————————-68

Introduction……………………………………………………………………68
Literature Review ………………………………………………………….68
Methods ….. …………………………………………………………………69
Data collection challenge ……………………………………………………70
Results ………………………………………………………………………70
Limitation of study …………………………………………………….73
Conclusion ……………………………………………………………..74

APPENDICES

APPENDEX A – PART 1 – DATA COLLECTION ——————————–76
Questionnaire …………………………………………………………..76

APPENDIX B – PART 2:
SPEECH RECORDING INTERVIEW Questionnaire —————————–78

Directions ……………………………………………………………..78
Interview Questions :……………………… …………………………78
Assessment Scale …..…………..………………………………..…..79
Further assessment question …………………………………..…… …80

REFERENCES: ————————————————————————-81

FIGURES

Figure 1…………………………………………………………..16
Figure 2 ………………………………………………………….21
Figure 3 ………………………………………………………….48
Figure 4 ………………………………………………………….55
Figure 5 ………………………………………………………….55

TABLES

Table 1 ………………………………………………………….46
Table 2 ………………………………………………………….47
Table 4 ………………………………………………………….53
Table 5 …………………………………………………………53
Table 6 ………………………………………………………….54
Table 7 ………………………………………………………….56

I wait to hear from you whether this could qualify for publishing consideration with Nsemia.

Hopefully,
nmm
Naphtali Makora

Comment from Nahashon Akungah Nyangeri
Time: April 30, 2015, 10:05 am

Am happy to have visited this page. It is good to know that there is One Semia Publications that cares when the locals turn manuscripts down. Have done my thesis that I look for your advise on how it may be published
Hopefully
Akungah

Comment from Alfred Nyamwange
Time: May 4, 2015, 3:26 am

As a language teacher I believe your bold step is on the right track. The essence of any language lies on communicability and things that hinder the process can lie on accented speech. Thumbs up for taking up the challenge ,curiously Nsemia is silent on this. We need to hear from other language scholars on this too.

Comment from SIMIDI ALIGULA
Time: December 13, 2015, 8:16 am

Your packaged ideas and knowledge of publishing are very inspiring. I love them as they encourage me publish a book i have been working on.
Thanks and kind regards

Comment from Matunda Nyanchama
Time: December 15, 2015, 5:00 am

Please write and do so soon. The more people that write, the more diverse the ideas and the closer to the real “story”.

We await your submission.

Regards

Comment from SIMIDI ALIGULA
Time: September 28, 2016, 4:27 am

Congradulation very much Nsemia publishers for your forum and outfit in publishing.
During The Nairobi Book exhibition Week i visited your stand where you had showcased your exemplary work of printing and publishing. As an outstanding publishing powerhouse it was very impressive to see excellent work.
As a point of inquiry i am an aspiring writer who has a manuscript to be assesed. How do i submit it so that i see it come to live. THanks, Your responds is appreciated.

Comment from Andrew Nyongesa
Time: December 5, 2016, 8:03 am

This is a remarkable speech outlining the need for scholars and authors to publish their research and creative writing projects. I have visited Nsemia Inc. Publishers and read some their poetry and novels and I can sincerely testify that their works are of high quality. Dr. Matunda takes time to talk to the author and express his desire for quality work. He solicits for good editors and readers to read the work and refine it. The cover designs are of international quality and I can attest to his vision of promoting knowledge in Africa and beyond. I am also glad to know that you are interested in non mainstream authors like me. Thumbs up, Dr. Matunda. God bless Nsemia inc. Publishers.

Comment from Matunda Nyanchama
Time: March 8, 2017, 4:19 am

Please send us your manuscript to info@nsemia.com

Comment from Nyamari Abel
Time: June 28, 2017, 3:53 pm

Congrats doctor Matunda Nyanchama and the Nsemia staff for your great concern about our cultures and naturing young authors. This is the best publisher and most trust worthy so far warmly receiving views and giving room for undocumented knowledge. Personally am grateful as my first book a Swahili novel ‘Mbaazi Umekosa Maua ‘is currently in progress. Thanks Nsemia for ensuring that our talents are not going without being noticed

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