Each morning I try to listen to a song out of my preferred genres with optimistic lyrics and, preferably, an upbeat melody. I escape away into the words, deriving my own meaning from them, and imagine what more I can do with my life.
On the days I am down, it seems I go back to some sadder rock songs, in which I'm lost in sympathy or empathy. Gloom or glad, I find myself lost in music I can relate to - or at least, think I can relate to.
This is how a good story should work. Forget the genres. Forget the reading level, literary or genre. Think of the last memorable book you read. More than likely, you burned through hundreds of pages in a setting or two.
Some writers blame their platform, publishers, or promotions for a lack of sales. Sales are (unfortunately) the only tangible means of measuring a manuscript's success. If people aren't buying, it is assumed they are not reading. And as a writer, a lack of readership is the same as a C on a term paper; it means you were good enough, but didn't try hard enough.
Or perhaps it means you wrote something people couldn't relate to. I'm not preaching on verse-chorus-verse or telling you to write something generic. What I mean is, if you write something people can relate to, then it is more likely to read by more people.
How do you write something relatable? If you run with my maxim from His Daughter that "Life is universal", then you might be able to draw from your own experiences. Dig hard and dig deep. When you're writing a story from true emotions, it's bound to sail.
It's important that a story makes sense. If your prose piece is "too personal", you might have the same problem Prince had, which was no one knew what he was singing about. If you're lucky, you'll find the same success Prince found: He became famous later on.
Write about the way you felt. Write about what absolutely made you happy. Write about what made you contemplate suicide for the first time. Most people know those feelings even if they never admit to having them. Write about feeling lost in the world, or how you felt the world hated you. Write about wishful thinking. Write about wanting to give up.
If you ties these emotions into a solid plot, you've found gold. If you chose to write about wanting to give, explain why. After you explain why, write about success or what made you happy.
Music has the advantage of tapping into every part of our minds. Its sound can conjure emotion, while it's lyrics provide scenes for us to interpret. For writers, there's more to describe and more direction to be provided. But if you connect the dots and tie in the strong emotion, people will relate to it like a song and drift away.