TikTok to the rescue!

Move over Oprah’s Book Club, we have TikTok.

If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, one daughter unexpectedly changed her father’s life in a remarkable way using the power of social media.

Despite having a full-time job as an attorney, along with three children, Lloyd Devereux Richards spent 14 years finding time to pursue his dream of writing a book, and another 11 years trying to promote it.

Sales were slow, but he persevered. His daughter noticed all his hard work and shared the story on TikTok — where it caught the attention of millions.

In a simple 16-second video, she catapulted his book to Amazon’s bestseller list.

The video was posted to an account titled “stonemaidens” — the name of Richards’ novel. In the video, Richards’ daughter reveals that her father
doesn’t even know what TikTok is,” and says she would love to see his book get some sales.

@stonemaidens

It’s a beautifully written thriller on Amazon 🥹❤️ #stonemaidens #booktok #authorsoftiktok #thrillerbooks #books

♬ original sound – e

“My dad spent 14 years writing a book. He worked full time and his kids came first,” says the video’s text. “But [he] made time for his book.”

The video shows Richards sitting at a desk writing and a quick clip of the book cover, titled Stone Maidens. She added in the caption that the book is available on Amazon, and tapped into a few communities on TikTok with the hashtags, “#booktok” and “#authorsoftiktok.” 

TikTok has been a new force in the world of book sales, namely through the hashtag #BookTok, which readers use to discuss their favorite authors and books. In 2021 alone, the ‘BookTok’ community helped authors sell 20 million printed books, according to a New York Times report.

With the help of the TikTok community, Stone Maidens shot to #1 on Amazon’s Serial Killer Thrillers list:

Amazon

In a follow-up, Richards’ daughter captured the emotional moment when her father sees the now-viral TikTok and learns of his book’s sudden success.

The news of his overnight fame is visibly overwhelming to Richards, who cried while reading the comments section of his daughter’s TikTok post. She also began to cry, thanking fans for the purchases. “Because of them, you’re number one,” she told her dad.

@stonemaidens

you all are amazing! Life can be hard and then it can be wonderful suddenly (still crying) #stonemaidens

♬ original sound – Lloyd Devereux Richards

According to the Stone Maiden’s Amazon description, the thriller tells the story of Christine Prusik, the chief forensic anthropologist for the FBI’s Chicago field office. In the novel, she investigates a serial killer who strangles women and dumps their bodies in the ravines of southern Indiana.

Richards says Stone Maidens may have even been inspired by his own life. His own author bio reads, “Lloyd Devereux Richards was born in New York City and traveled extensively in Europe, Africa, and Central America before attending law school. He previously served as a senior law clerk for an Indiana Court of Appeals judge, researching and writing drafts for dozens of published opinions, including the appeal of a serial killer sentenced to death.”

The outpouring of love that Richards received is remarkable. One user wrote “I’ve never ordered something so fast in my life” while another added, “the time he took to write it and everything was intentional and purposeful. Great storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat.”

His daughter added that her father has been “saying thank you all morning.”

“These last couple days, I just, I can’t understand it. I feel blessed” Richards said. He was content just having finished the book, and likely never expected to have a bestseller — or millions of new fans around the world.

His sudden success is a reminder of the power of perseverance– never giving up on your dreams. Though he clearly did not pursue this project with the goal of fame or recognition, the outpouring of love he received is earned, and a genuine reaction to his thankless commitment.

However, Richards is not letting the newfound success distract him too much and he is already working on a sequel to his novel.