When you think of books that are comprised of short stories, usually what comes to mind are anthologies that collect many short stories about a specific subject or genre that is written by many different authors. Although related, they are separate stories, not one story is usually based on characters or events of another story in the book, except for those written by many different authors that is based around a specific storyline. The stories in these types of books can easily be read in any order without confusion.
Some of my books that I am currently working on feature short stories like mentioned above, such as one of my upcoming books: Tales of Familiars: The First Mortal Realm Witch series companion. Other books of mine which feature short stories are very different. This is the case with my first published book, Mortal Realm Witch: Learning About Magic and some of my other books in progress.
When thinking of my first book, Mortal Realm Witch: Learning About Magic, and other books like this, it is actually easiest and least confusing to think of this individual book as if it was a book series by itself. A series in which you can read each book or story out of order and still have an idea of what’s going on, but it is still easiest and best to read everything in order. For these books you could also think of them as you would those books in which some of the books in a series have been compiled into one.
This is what several of the books I write are like, but they are comprised of shorter length stories that follow a timeline.
Basically, for the Mortal Realm Witch series specifically, there are a few simple rules you can follow to ensure you get maximum enjoyment of the series. First, if the individual stories in the book are read out of order, you may be slightly confused but would still be able to understand what is going on and what is being talked about, although I do suggest reading them in order. Second, the series itself should be read in the order that will be presented on the Mortal Realm Witch website, but that doesn’t mean you can’t read the series out of order if you want to. There are multiple ways the series could read best. For instance, Book One in the series may set up events for the future books and is a good place to start in order to get to know the characters, themes, ideas, as well as for timeline order, but it also works well as a backstory if read after any other book in the series. The recommended order is only recommended due to the fact that there are a few spoilers, although limited, in following books of the series because how the books were written.