Scott Macauley interviewed Scott Kirsner for Filmmaker Mag Blog about Kirsner's new book "Inventing The Movies". Scott's answers about what he learned from self-publishing and self-distributing the book are directly applicable to fimmakers:
Three things. You really need to have a platform and a built-in audience to really be successful promoting something now. The platform that I built over a couple of years is the CinemaTech blog, and that has a couple of thousand people who come to it every week. Two, you want to make things available in a lot of different ways that are convenient for people. A lot of publishers don‘t pay any attention to the ebook, but I wanted to have the book available in print and, for instant gratification, in digital form. I had a debate at the IFP conference with Tom Bernard from Sony Pictures Classics where I argued that the moment a lot of movies get the most attention is when they appear at a festival, so why not let people pay a premium price and download the movie then, or the week after? I wanted to do that with the book. And the third thing is something I did a little bit of, which is sharing the material as I was gathering it. I did a couple of interviews with Mark Cuban, and I posted those interviews on the blog and it was interesting to see other people‘s comments. He even posted some comments on the blog himself. So, by posting raw material and seeing what people want to know about [the audience] can steer you in directions you never would have thought of. I‘m trying to carve my way through the jungle of a new approach to book publishing in the same way that filmmakers are trying to find a new way to make movies.
Or in other words: seed, sort, and test.