I don't remember who said this, but it's posted on my monitor. I read it daily, every time I sit down to write. "The best 'author tip' on handling conflict I know; Find the main character's Achilles' heel (the root source of his/her internal conflict) and stomp on it (external conflict.)"
Donald Maass says, "Write down what would make your protagonist suffer. Then, make it worse. Raise the stakes." Actually, his teaching is much better than my little take on it, but conflict is truly --- what sells books.
I know, I know ... plot, larger-than-life characters, kick-ass scenes, and good clean, clear, streamlined writing will help you get an agent ... but it's the conflict, the page-turning prose that causes one reader to tell another, who will tell another, and that reader will recommend it to their sister, and the sister will tell her best friend who will then buy it for her mother ... and so on and so on.
That's what sells books. Pure and simple.
I've been reading, studying actually ... pages and pages of opinions from million-dollar-deal authors and high priced publicists to the little old lady on the street ... one opinion after another of what it takes to get the word out and reach readers. I think I've bought every book written on publicity. The opinions are as varied as the people offering their 2 cents.
There is no magic formula, when it comes right down to it. It's hard work. Writing, publishing, and promoting. It's competitive.
But if you can lay your head down at night and know for certain you've done your best that day ... then it's all you can do.
And here's one last free tip for today ... to create conflict on the page you have to keep peace in your home. Think about it.
Blessings to you and yours.