Lloyd Devereux Richards, a full-time lawyer and father of three, spent 14 years working on his book and another 11 years waiting for the thriller to find success.
This didn't happen until last week, when his daughter shared a 16-second TikTok video with the straightforward message: "I'd love for him to get some sales. " .
The novel climbed to No. serial killer thrillers on Amazon, at number one.
I'm ready for a nap, her father said in response. ".
The popular video, which describes Mr. Richards' arduous process of finishing the book Stone Maidens, has received more than 40 million views.
The hashtag BookTok, which readers use to talk about their favorite authors and book picks, has been used by TikTok, a platform for short-form video hosting, to boost the sales of hundreds of books in recent years. A New York Times article claims that BookTok assisted authors in selling 20 million printed books in just 2021.
Mr. Richards was so overcome by the news of his sudden fame that he sobbed as he read the TikTok post's comments after his daughter informed him it had gone viral.
His daughter shed tears as she thanked the buyers for their purchases. She told her dad, "Because of them, you're number one.".
He doesn't even understand what TikTok is, she continued.
The novel, which is about an FBI forensic anthropologist looking into a serial killer who strangles women and dumps their bodies in the ravines of southern Indiana, was published in 2012. Mr. Richards' daughter said her father, who resides with his wife in Montpelier, Vermont, was content simply to have finished the book.
The earlier writings of Mr. Richards could have served as inspiration for the book. According to his Amazon biography, he developed his true crime expertise while working as a senior law clerk for an Indiana judge, conducting research and drafting opinions that were eventually published, including one on the appeal of a serial killer who had been given the death penalty.
Fans of TikTok quickly praised the book and its author's narrative.
One viewer who watched the touching video commented, "I've never ordered something so fast in my life.
Richards' unexpected success should serve as a reminder to never give up after "25 years of little hope," his daughter said in a later TikTok video.
"The previous few days. While drinking milkshakes to celebrate the increase in sales, Mr. Richards said in the video, "I can't understand it. "I feel so fortunate. ".
However, Mr. Richards won't be stopping for too long to celebrate. According to his Amazon biography, he is currently writing the book's sequel.