Back in the marketplace after 22 years
I self published in 1990. Distributors didn't want to handle self published books so I did all I could to look like a small press, which I was. I struggled through getting a Library of Congress Number and ISBN, all through the mail and over the phone. I sweet talked Gordons, the distributor in Denver to handle the book, and visited their sales room where they were calling bookstores recommending books. I gave a copy to every salesperson and they sold 175 copies that day. The book was about a door to door salesman, which I used to be. That helps.
Ingram was a bxxxx. They did everything they could to keep from handling my book, and their territory (mainly east of the Mississippi, Gordons was bigger in the west) was where the story took place; that hurt. Finally, a year after publication they handled it. Baker and Taylor was equally hard to deal with. Amazon started a small press program in about 1992 and I sold a total of 5 copies with them before I moved to Europe with the Air Force and gave it up.
When I came back from Europe I was stationed in Washington, DC, and I went to the Library of Congress and checked out my book. It was actually, physically there! That was a thrill. I called my mother from the reading room to share the experience. She was not impressed; she had read the word bastard in the first line of my book and never read any further.
Now I'm back, electronic and paper. Today, it's all about web sites and file transfers. I'm learning. I've sold 28 copies, and given away 224 in the first month. They say that's the way to do it. We'll see.