It really is all about the story and I can’t say it better than Bob Mayer:
The consumer is the reader. Not the bookstores, the platform, the distributor, the sales force. The Reader.
Authors produce story. Readers consume story. If anyone is in the path between Author and Reader they must add value to that connection.
I taught "Writing for Non-Writers" at a community college years ago. I expected maybe a half-dozen students, to my surprise, forty-plus people signed up. In the first class, I handed out two index cards to each student: on one, I asked students to write down what they wanted to write about.
Invariably, someone said, "I don't want to write down my topic because someone will steal it."
I had the class find the others who were writing in their genre; another invariable question, "Do we have to stay in these groups?"
"Of course not, but who's going to understand better your struggles than someone who's writing in the same genre as you?"
"Everything was going fine and something happened to upset the apple cart; everything was going to hell in a handbasket and something happened to make it less hellish; or nothing happened -- that is, something is always on the verge of happening, but it doesn't happen, or perhaps earth-shaking events are happening around your hero, your protagonist, but they don't affect him or her."
The room was dead silent except for the sound of pens scratching and laptop keys tapping.
"Can you repeat that?"
"Why don't you have slides?"
Not OK - OK
The two poets looked at each other and laughed. I said, "Poetry is a little different. There can be an arc of action--that's what we're talking about here -- the arc of action; but many poems are a snapshot of something in the human condition, explored in nuanced ways; poetry is more like painting to me."
“But there’s still a story.” said one of the students. “I make up stories about paintings all the time.”
I wrote on the whiteboard: