In the acknowledgements page of I,Gabriel, appears a name you will be unfamiliar with… Raef Meeuwisse.
I told you.
It’s an unusual name. He is the only Raef and the only Meeuwisse I have ever met – but boy, am I glad that I did – as should be anyone who is looking forward to reading I,Gabriel.
Since my publisher sacked me after Only in America was published (insufficient sales) and before they were contracted to publish The Ripple Effect (nice) – I have continued to write books but have not bothered with publishers, preferring instead to go it alone.
Er… with mixed results.
By which I mean that I am a terrible publisher. The on-line ‘space’ and their technical requirements render me almost completely impotent and no doubt, I am missing out on so many tricks of the trade.
No matter how enjoyable a book is– if they are published badly and can’t be found, then the whole thing becomes a folly.
With this in mind and having spent more than 18 months writing I,Gabriel I come to its publication with some trepidation but determined also that I must give it a chance.
But what likelihood of me learning new and sufficient IT skills?
Allow me then, to introduce the man with the unique man – literally the one and possibly the only… Raef Meeuwisse.
Raef writes books on cyber security which he publishes himself and with great success. Raef and I are very different. He is tall and completely bald but as well as this, his brain is wired differently to mine (and very probably, is much bigger also).
An on-line problem to Raef is something to relish; a challenge to be hurdled – whereas to me it feels like an IT conspiracy against me and possibly a reason to end it all.
Anyone publishing a book must embrace the aptly named behemoth, Amazon – and to do so, you must negotiate labyrinths worthy of Indiana Jones.
Just this morning, I was perfectly happy with my life until I received an email alert from Amazon, KDP division (Kindle Direct Publishing)
“We need to alert you to an error with your title, I,Gabriel…”
Really and you can’t let it slide?
I try to remain positive. Good ‘ole Amazon for being so observant and vigilant. And perhaps it is something I can fix myself. I read on and quickly, shudder…
“Your cover file for I,Gabriel is rejected. Please check your file document for its dimensions paying particular attention to trims and bleeds….”
It goes on to kindly explain the exact dimensions required – and when I say exact, how about 8.323 for a number? Numbers the like of which I have not seen since I was at school and failing maths miserably.
I reach for my laptop and I do the only thing that I know will work.
I skype Raef…
How he must rue introducing himself to me at a conference in Germany that I happened to be hosting.
His enormous face fills my screen and immediately I am relieved. Just his presence is soothing and I blurt out my problem urgently; like a child protesting his innocence with bat in hand, whilst standing next to a broken window…
Raef knows me by now and he listens calmly.
Did you know that you can share screens on skype – whereby the person you’re skyping can actually see your screen?
I didn’t know this – until Raef pointed it out. It’s why he uses Skype. So he can help out his stupid friends.
My wizard friend stares at my screen, open on my amazon account and the offending error strewn page. I sit quietly, not making a sound for fear of interrupting his synapses; his eyes darting back and forth and taking in all before him. And finally, he sees a way forward and begins to volley out instructions at me which I obey precisely and without question.
He creates new files which he sends to me and then locating said files on my machine – they are uploaded to the largest, most invisible and impenetrable shop on earth – which begins to crunch and percolate my new files. But will they meet the stringent criteria?
Of course. Because eventually Raef wins out. The error messages begin to ease as the pedantic robots in the Amazon factory, somewhere in middle eventually stand down.
I,Gabriel is approved… for now.
And it will be published as scheduled this coming Monday – 29th July 2019.
It is written by Dominic Holland and Raef Meeuwisse – because without his input, it is unlikely that it will ever have seen the day.