After 11 years with almost no sales, a father from Vermont is now a bestselling author — and it’s all thanks to a viral TikTok video posted by his daughter.
Amid his career as a lawyer and role as a father raising three children, Lloyd Devereux Richards took 14 years to complete his passion project: a 343-page serial-killer thriller titled Stone Maidens. Though Richards spent over a decade hoping his novel would take off, it never did.
That is, until his daughter Marguerite posted a TikTok on Feb. 8 encouraging people to buy her father’s novel.
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“My dad spent 14 years writing a book. He worked full-time and his kids came first. But made time for his book,” Marguerite wrote. She shared video of her father with his head buried in paperwork at his desk.
“He’s so happy even though sales aren’t great,” she continued. “I’d love for him to get some sales.”
Since posting the video, her TikTok has been viewed 43.3 million times. With a rush of support, Stone Maidens surged to the top of Amazon’s Best Seller list. As of this writing, Richards’ novel is the No. 4 book on Amazon.
Stone Maidens, originally published in 2012, is a whodunit about an FBI forensic anthropologist tracking a serial killer that leaves strangled victims with a specific calling card: an eerie, carved-stone figurine. The novel has a five-star rating on Amazon.
Richards may have even taken inspiration from his career as a lawyer. According to his Amazon author page, Richards spent many years “researching and writing drafts for dozens of published opinions, including the appeal of a serial killer sentenced to death and subsequently electrocuted.”
His reaction to the news of his now-bestselling book was much less chilling. In another TikTok, Marguerite shared the lovely comments from new readers with her father, who became emotional.
Though he doesn’t understand TikTok, Richards was moved to tears by the support and kind words. As he wiped away tears, Richards joked that he was “ready for a nap.”
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Richards and his daughter Marguerite celebrated their success with milkshakes.
“These last couple days, I just can’t understand it,” Richards said in another TikTok video. “I feel blessed.”
TikTok has become an instrumental tool for book sales over the last few years. According to the New York Times, the popular tag #BookTok helped authors sell 20 million printed books in 2021. In 2022, those sales increased another 50 per cent. The outlet claimed no other social media platform has ever been as influential when it comes to book sales.
According to his Amazon author page, Richards is already working on a sequel to Stone Maidens.
When Marguerite asked Richards if he had any advice for aspiring writers, the novelist had a few words of wisdom: “You write, you rewrite, and write it again,” he said. “And you never give up.”
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