Many of my friends and not a few strangers have suggested that I'd make a good teacher. But I have a problem with the fundamental teacher's moto - "There's no such thing as a stupid question." I get stupid questions all of the time, primarily from people who can't be bothered to read the very page they claim to be asking a question about. But the king of the stupid publishing questions is the request to be let in on the secret. I suppose that our media drenched conspiracy theory world has encouraged the idea that it all comes down to who you know, but looking for a conspiracy in self publishing is pushing things too far. Self publishers don't have anybody to conspire with!
The secret to publishing success is that there aren't any secrets. Like any other business startup it takes a lot of hard work, some good ideas, and reasonable timing. Writing strangers and asking them to be let in on the secret doesn't qualify as a good idea. What's more, if you think I could write over three hundred posts to this self publishing blog without revealing everything I know about the subject, you've got more faith in my depth of knowledge than I do. All I'm trying to do at this point is to space out my endless repetitions:-)
But I still get e-mails and blog comments from people who think, for example, you have to know somebody to get your book listed on Amazon. There's no secret to getting your book listed on Amazon, and there must be a half dozen ways to do it by this point. You can join Amazon Advantage if you're small, or set up a direct relationship if you are very large. You can list anything you want in Marketplace, or you can have books printed by one of Amazon's two publishing companies, CreateSpace or Booksurge. Or, you can have your book printed by a company that has an Amazon relationship, like Lightning Source or Replica. Or you can place your books with a distributor who has a relationship with Amazon, which is most of them.
Figuring out a way to get your self published book on Amazon isn't the challenge. Choosing the best way is the challenge. Unless your publishing business is entirely focused on selling books on Amazon, there are trade-offs involved in any of the choices above. The Advantage program requires a 55% discount and you pay the shipping, and getting into Amazon by way of a distributor will cost even more. Both Lightning Source and Replica allow short discount access to Amazon, and in Marketplace, the pricing is entirely in your hands. CreateSpace and Booksurge have standard deals you have to agree to, their printing costs are also higher than you'd pay through Lightning Source. But the bottom line is that aren't any secrets involved in self publishing. If anything, there's too much information and it tends to confuse newcomers until they get a little real experience under their belts.