(Note: I forgot a major topic. The doors to the Magic Bakery. So this chapter will fit into the middle of the book somewhere.)
Chapter (in the center)…
Doors to the Bakery
Any business must have a way to get into the business.
For example, at our North collectable store here in town you can enter through an interior staircase and climb, or climb an exterior staircase. Both methods take some work for customers and we also have a special entrance in the back that comes in without stairs.
Three entrances. We have the store full of enough cool stuff, we hope it is worth the customer’s climb.
So how do readers, publishers, and others get into your bakery to buy your magic pies?
The fun of Magic Bakeries, there are many actual doors.
Far more doors, actually, than you have products in the bakery.
Yeah, a Magic Bakery is a strange place, but it is magical after all.
An example: Say you have written one short story only and published it.
The Magic Pie that is that short story is sitting on the shelf all by itself. Your bakery is empty and no customers are really going to stop by, even if they happen to find your one story somewhere.
So at that moment in time, your bakery only has a few dozen doors and nothing to hold customers when they arrive.
Why that many doors? Because you have been smart and put the story out wide, meaning Amazon, B&N, Kobo, D2D and so on through all the places D2D and Smashwords distribute to. (I’ll talk about paper below.)
So for the sake of simple, say that your one story is for sale at a dozen places.
One story times a dozen places is a dozen ways someone can find your story and thus enter your Magic Bakery.
Every Story is a Door into Your Work
This concept flies in the face of the old myths about writing slow, only doing a book a year or two. Sorry if you are still using one of those myths as an excuse to not sit and write much. You need to figure out how to change that.
Productivity is king in this modern world and the reason is simple. Every story or novel or collection you put out is a doorway to your Magic Bakery and all your other work.
So say I have 300 different products out there in one form or another. (I have more.) Each product is sold wide. So I have about 3,600 doors into my bakery that readers can come through at any moment. Or movie folks or gaming offers or overseas publishers.
Those doors are all over the world, folks.
This is the basic concept of discoverability in this Magic Bakery metaphor.
The more work you have out for sale, the more readers can discover all of your work.
There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to get readers through one of your doors. Again, your magic bakery must have product, be clean, and well lit, meaning people can see what flavor of Magic Pie they want to try.
An example of one great way is to sell a short story to a magazine or anthology. The door is your story in that book or magazine, which will be different when you publish the story out wide later on.
For example, you sell a story to Asimov’s and it is printed in their magazine. They get to about a hundred thousand readers through their varied means. That door is now open into your bakery because readers there can enjoy your story and follow your name through the door into your other work.
Bundles are another great door that opens and closes. For example, as I write this, I have novels in two great bundles. Now both novels are out there wide in electronic and paper. But for three weeks, each novel in each bundle will have a new door that readers can follow to my Magic Bakery and all my other work.
There are many, many other ways. From Bookbub to Facebook promotions to Amazon ads to giving a story away on your blog every week and so on. So, so many ways and more being created every day.
But the basic premise is that any time you can set up a way for readers to find one of your stories, it creates a door into your bakery and all your other work.
Create Doors By Creating More Product
One of the most common questions I get is about collections. The question is always in a form like this: “If I have five of my short stories in a collection, should I also publish them stand-alone?”
My answer is always yes, of course. A collection is one door times all the places you have it for sale. For sake of the math, say 1 x 12 equals 12 doors.
If you put up the stories as stand-alone stories as well, you have created 60 more doors. So with stories in a collection and stand alone, you would have at least 72 doors into your bakery.
That many more chances that a reader can discover your Magic Bakery and come in and sample more.
Take those thirty stories I wrote in April of 2017. I created 30 Magic Pies. Let’s count the doors into my Magic Bakery I got from that month of having fun writing short fiction.
Each story will be published stand-alone. 30 x 12 = 360 doors.
Each will be put into a Smith’s Monthly volume. About 8 volumes. 8 x 12 = 96 doors.
Each will be put in a five story collection at some point. 6 collections. 6 x 12 = 72 doors.
So from writing 30 stories in thirty days and getting them out wide and in various forms, I created about 528 new entrance doors into my Magic Bakery. And who knows what the future of those 30 stories holds for even more doors.
That’s why productivity is king in this new world. The more Magic Pies, the more doors into your bakery.
Now For Some Real Magic
The Magic Pie (your story) never leaves your bakery. Yet at the same time, that story exists out in all those places for readers to sample and find the door back to where that Magic Pie lives and all your other work lives.
Through the magic of copyright, your Magic Pie can be on the shelf in your store, completely in your control, while also being available for someone to license and read in electronic form all over the world.
So that is pretty nifty magic all by itself. It is the basis for the modern Magic Bakery.
But there is more. The magic of paper copies.
A paper copy of your book gets printed and sold. One reader found the door to your work. All great.
But that paper copy, not the place it was sold, but the paper copy itself, remains a door to your store as well.
How is that?
Say the book read and then was donated to a library and sold there. So now that paper copy opened the door to your bakery for another reader.
This can’t happen with electronic licenses. One sale, one customer. But not paper.
Say the book ends up in a used bookstore, the most magical place of all for opening doors to writer’s Magic Bakeries. And someone finds it, takes it home, likes it and opens a door into your bakery.
Then trades the book back in or gives it to a library or to a friend.
So you have your work for sale on Amazon and a few other places in paper. Each place is a door to your bakery times the number of books you have in print.
But watch the number of sales each month in print, because each sale is a potential new door into your work for a reader or numbers of new readers at some point.
This concept has always been around, just never talked much about in the old traditional days. Writers back then only had one door and that was to sell the story to a publisher. And Magic Bakeries are pretty much non-existent when you sell all-rights to traditional publishers.
But now paper copies can be a massive tool in bringing in loyal customers to your Magic Bakery because every paper book sold becomes a possible number of future doors.
The New World of Discoverability (I mean doors)
The thinking is simple: The more product you have in your Magic Bakery, the more possible doors there are out there for someone to find your work.
But you can see why I have always shouted about the silliness of being exclusive anywhere. It limits your doors into your bakery. It really is that simple.
And the more doors you have, the more people can find your Magic Bakery with all your work sitting gleaming on the shelves.
And the more product in your place, the more doors and the more readers will shop around when they do find you.
So above I said I have about 3,600 doors plus into my bakery. That number was based on just electronic license.
But hundreds of my books are in print and selling and each time one books sells, I know for a fact that one copy that sold might be a future door to a brand new customer.
And that’s why sometimes my Magic Bakery gets real crowded with customers. And for any shop owner, that is a fun thing to see.