There's a good post today on FilmmakerMagBlog by Jake Abraham on LOVELY BY SURPRISE, a film he produced and is now distributing. The only way DIY is going to really ever become a viable model is for filmmakers to do precisely what Jake is doing, and share the experience. You should definitely read the whole post, but I definitely appreciated this nugget:
we worked with Indigenous to make sure that every possible outlet, both retail and online, would carry the film. They set up Netflix, Blockbuster Online, Amazon.com, iTunes and all those other online rental and purchase sites. Also, as they are set up as a vendor with all the wholesalers that distribute to retail rental stores and purchasers like Target, K-Mart, etc., we have orders coming in from those guys as well. This detail can’t be overlooked. Working with an approved vendor is a key step to getting your DVD in rental stores all over the U.S. (yes, they still exist). Don’t wait until your DVD is pressed to do this. It takes months to get all of this set up properly. The consequence of delaying this process is severe, as your film will not be available everywhere you want it to be when your marketing push is on and potential viewers won’t be able to access it.