How TikTok helped a struggling author achieve bestseller status through his daughter’s viral video

14 years in the making, a struggling debut novel becomes a viral sensation on TikTok, captivating millions and topping Amazon's best-sellers list.

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Lloyd Devereux Richards‘ debut novel “Stone Maidens” had been published in 2012 but struggled to make sales, selling only a few dozen copies in the past decade. The mystery thriller took 14 years for Richards to write while working full-time as a corporate attorney at a Vermont life-insurance company and raising his children. Richards’ daughter, Marguerite, recently turned to TikTok to promote her father’s novel. Her 17-second-long TikTok post on February 8 featured a glimpse of her elderly father typing into an old computer in the attic while wearing green spectacles that wrapped around his head. With John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” playing in the background, Marguerite drew attention to the book’s backstory, describing how her father had written it while working full time and raising his children.

Devereux Richard and his daughter Marguerite

Marguerite wrote in the TikTok post, “My dad spent 14 years writing a book. He worked full time, and his kids came first. But he made time for his book. I’d love for him to get some sales.” The TikTok post quickly went viral and amassed 44.3 million views on the platform as of Friday. Many comments on the video expressed a desire to buy the book, with some even announcing that they have already ordered it.


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

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The novel is about an FBI agent who works on a case involving a serial killer who leaves an eerie calling card with each victim. As of Friday, “Stone Maidens” was the single bestselling book on, and it ranked 48th on the best-selling book list of 2023. Almost 90% of the book’s 872 reviews gave it a five-star rating.

When Marguerite Richards showed her father how much her TikTok post had blown up, he was moved to tears. She posted his emotional reaction in another TikTok post. “I’m so excited. It’s just incredible. I owe this all to my daughter, really,” said Richards in a radio interview with CBC’s “As It Happens.” “I’m just overwhelmed by how wonderful and supportive the people are being,” he said on the show. He called the social media platform “Tick Tack” before correcting himself.

Richards also revealed in the interview that he had just finished the sequel to the novel, which was with his agent. His first book was published by Thomas & Mercer, an Amazon subsidiary.

Stone maidens

Stone Maidens

$ 10.33

Marguerite Richards said that she had thought of promoting her father’s first book after he finished writing the sequel, hoping to “find a few readers to appreciate his book.” “He took care of me, and I want to take care of him,” she said to CBC.

Richards’ success story highlights the impact of social media on a book’s sales. TikTok, in particular, has become a platform for independent authors to promote their work and reach a broader audience. With its unique algorithm that promotes viral content, TikTok has become a valuable tool for content creators, including authors, to showcase their work.

Authors have been utilizing social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to promote their work for years. However, TikTok’s short-form video content has become a game-changer for authors, as it allows them to create visually appealing content and tell their stories in a concise, engaging way.

The success of “Stone Maidens” has also highlighted the importance of word-of-mouth marketing in the book industry. The book’s rise to bestseller status on Amazon was largely due to the TikTok video’s reach and the engagement from viewers who expressed a desire to read the book. The power of recommendations from friends and family, or in this case, strangers on social media, cannot be underestimated.

Marguerite Richards’ TikTok post has not only made her father’s novel a sudden bestseller, but it has also drawn attention to the importance of supporting independent authors and the impact of social media in book promotion. With the rise of self-publishing and the increasing number of books being published each year, it has become more challenging for authors to gain visibility and readership.


However, as Lloyd Devereux Richards’ success story shows, social media platforms like TikTok can be a powerful tool for authors to reach a broader audience and promote their work. By using the platform’s unique features, such as short-form video content and the potential for viral reach, authors can showcase their stories and engage with potential readers in a new and creative way.

Moreover, the success of “Stone Maidens” highlights the power of word-of-mouth marketing and the importance of community support in the book industry. By sharing her father’s story and book on TikTok, Marguerite Richards not only helped her father’s book gain recognition but also created a community of readers who appreciate and support independent authors.

In a time where traditional marketing methods are becoming less effective, social media platforms like TikTok offer a unique opportunity for independent authors to gain visibility and reach potential readers. As more authors discover the power of social media, we can expect to see more success stories like that of Lloyd Devereux Richards and “Stone Maidens.”