Since I’ve been asked about this in comments on my last post on this topic, I just wanted to report that for the record, yes, my Draft2Digital issue has been resolved. They did not actually completely blow away my account, so I was able to regain access to it.
Details behind the fold.
How I ultimately fixed the problem
I had to do two main things to make this happen:
- Update the account with valid tax info
- Change off my account from my current provider to another email address
A big takeaway I had from the conversation with the account manager about this is that they’ve had a boatload of fraudulent accounts created via fastmail.com, which is my current primary email provider. This sucks if you’re an actual legit user of that service, since they appear to have unilaterally locked down any account with an email address from that provider. In my case (and in the case of at least one other person who’s answered comments on this site about this issue, shoutout to Jade), this meant I got caught up in that sweep.
(Now, whether or not they should have unilaterally locked down any account from fastmail.com is a whole separate question, and could well just be a matter of that particular email domain not being as well known or widely used as, say, Gmail. Though I’d like to note for the record that I did actually ask the account manager that question: i.e., would they completely block Gmail if they got a fleet of fraudulent accounts with gmail.com addresses?)
The account manager did however restore my access to the account, and slapped a bunch of notes all over it to say YES THIS PERSON IS AN ACTUAL AUTHOR, essentially. It appeared to help a lot that I simply actually complained about the situation. As the account manager said in our conversation, this was not an action bad actors would usually bother to take.
So once she restored my access, I got in there and did a few things:
- Re-uploaded tax info for them to review and to confirm that yes, I am who I say I am
- Changed my email address on record while I was in there, since I do have others I can use
- Changed my password, since it was high time to do that anyway
- Set up two-factor authentication
I am also going to set myself a reminder to actually log into the damn account at least once a month, to make sure I still have proper access to it.
Right now the account is not actually piping my books anywhere significant; I’m piping out to Kobo, Apple, and Barnes and Noble via Smashwords. I have direct accounts on both Amazon and Google Play. So how much actual use I’m going to get out of the D2D account moving forward remains to be seen. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
For now, the takeaways I have from this experience are:
- Even though I’m still on a writing hiatus due to pandemic and day job stress impacting my creativity, I still need to monitor what accounts I’ve set up for my indie work
- If something breaks, raise the alarm about it, talk to whatever support people the provider has
- Backup email addresses to use in case some provider decides it doesn’t like the one I’m using are probably a good idea
I am not exactly happy about how this played out, still. I don’t think unilaterally locking down all accounts off of fastmail.com was the right way to go, and I sure as hell am still cranky about their initial support request just dismissing me as a spammer because I’d gotten auto-dumped into that bucket along with the fraudulent accounts. I received an apology only for the inconvenience caused, and not for the actual poor support response.
So while I do have restored access to my D2D account, I will be side-eying them in the future. I consider them on probation until such time as any future support needs with them go better than this one has done.
What other indie authors can do
Any other indie authors out there reading this, if you’re on Fastmail and you’re asking, “Well, what do I do about my account?”, good question.
There are options here, but none of them are particularly easy. And you would have some decisions to make.
Do you want to stay on Fastmail or not?
- If you like Fastmail and want to keep them as your provider, please note that they do offer support for email sent to your own domain. So you might need to consider working with them to set up accepting email at some other domain, if you want to go to the trouble of setting one up for your writing. So I might do something like, say, an “angela” address that lived at the “angelahighland.info” domain. You can find out more about Fastmail’s support for this functionality on this help page of theirs.
- If staying on Fastmail is not a priority, you might have to consider changing your point of contact email address for your writing work. Which, again, might not necessarily be particularly easy. Particularly if you have that email address published on your site or in the contact info in your books, or what have you.
Do you want to continue doing business with Draft2Digital?
This is the more important of the two questions here. And honestly, I would not blame any indie writer who looked at this and went “fuck this, I don’t want to give these people any further thought.”
The problem with this is, there aren’t too many services that do what Draft2Digital does–i.e., being a one-stop shop for you to deploy your work out to a bunch of different places, and keeping you from having to deploy your work to those places directly.
Smashwords also does this, but D2D now owns Smashwords. So while I’m pretty sure Smashwords still has its own support personnel and such, there isn’t any guarantee that they won’t do more of a merger of the two sites in the future. So I feel like there’s a reasonable risk here of running into this problem again even if you’re working with Smashwords rather than D2D.
As of this writing I am not currently aware of any other services besides D2D and Smashwords that follow this same business model, and which are actually reputable. (If I’m out of date on this question and anybody out there does know of alternative services, talk to me! I want to know.)
If you bail on D2D (and possibly, by extension, Smashwords), then right now that means your other option is to basically maintain a separate account on every site where you want to sell books. Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Kobo, Apple. Google Play. Etc.
Which is a headache and time-consuming, and yeah, well, that’s why D2D and Smashwords came into being in the first place, right? So you will need to decide which approach is less of a headache for you.
If you want to try to restore your access on D2D, their support contact info is on this page. If you contact them, I hereby give my blanket permission for you to cite me in whatever email you compose, if you want to tell them something to this effect:
Hi, I’m <author so-and-so> and I’m writing in to try to reestablish access to my account on your system. I am a user of Fastmail.com and after reading reports by indie writer Angela Korra’ti on her blog and Mastodon feed, I believe I was impacted by the same issue that impacted her: that although I am a legitimate indie author and user of your services, I was caught in the same automated lockout of fastmail.com addresses that blocked Angela from access to her account.
Angela now reports her access has been restored and I would like to work with Draft2Digital to do the same with my account. Please let me know what steps I should follow to proceed.
Be polite but firm. Don’t be afraid to tell them “look, I was selling X copies of my title Y on your system each month and you’re now hindering my ability to sell my work on channels A, B, and C”.
And if you do go down this route, hey, come and tell me about it, won’t you? I’d like to know if other authors are able to get this resolved.
Readers are welcome to drop me comments here or reach out to me on Mastodon.
2 thoughts on “Last post about Draft2Digital”
Thank you Angela, that’s very good advice. I’m glad things worked out for you.
I did politely object at the time but received only an automated response telling me again that my account had been terminated. They refused to engage. This was December 2022.
I have replied to their recent mail about tax info by asking them to send my tax info to my home address, since I now have no account, but have received no response of any kind.
I did wonder at the time if they were culling authors with low sales figures, or non-US authors. I won’t be considering using them again.
As you point out, Fastmail aren’t the only email provider to run into problems with spammers and fraudulent accounts. I’d be surprised if it isn’t a problem that affects all providers from time to time. A responsible and mature business should react to this in a measured way, not panic and blow away customers of five years standing.
You’re very welcome. And yeah I don’t blame you in the slightest for bailing.
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