It took Lloyd Devereux Richards 14 years to write his novel, “Stone Maidens.”
Now, 11 years after his book was published, it is the number one book in the serial killer/thriller genre on Amazon — all thanks to his daughter.
“His path to literary stardom has been nothing short of a social media miracle,” Jenna Bush Hager, co-host of Hoda & Jenna, said on TODAY.
Just two weeks ago, Richards’ daughter, Marguerite Richards, posted a video on TikTok to “introduce the world” to her father and his novel. Sales of Richards’ novel had entirely dropped off — Marguerite Richards simply hoped TikTok could help “get a few more people to read her dad’s work.”
The video has since been viewed more than 47 million times. Last week, Lloyd Richards went from having almost no sales in nearly a decade to being the author of a number one book on Amazon.
The Richards joined Jenna and Willie Geist in Studio 1A on Friday, Feb. 24.
When asked how it feels to have a number one novel and the adoration of millions of viewers, Lloyd Richards says it’s “overwhelming, still.”
“I’m very grateful to her and to everybody here,” Lloyd Richards added. “Without my daughter and her love and support of me this would not be happening.”
Marguerite Richards told Jenna and Willie that she “grew up watching my dad write” so she “knew how much time he put into it.”
“He would work all day, come home, have dinner with me and my brothers and spend time with us and grab little pockets of writing,” the proud daughter explained. “When it published, we were so excited — so proud of him.”
Over the next 11 years, Marguerite Richards continued, there wasn’t “much of a following or readers,” but she said her father was never negative and “always stayed positive.”
“In fact, he kept writing,” she added.
So when her father finished the sequel to his novel, Marguerite Richards said it touched her and simultaneously broke her heart because “no one had read his first book.”
That’s when she turned to TikTok — or as her father called it, “Tic-Tac.”
“I was just kind of going through, making a video without him really knowing and I created an account and posted it, and no one knew this,” she explained. “Just in the hopes that a few people would read his first book — that was what I was hoping.”
Lloyd Richards says he is “speechless” when he considers the response to his daughter’s TikTok videos and recent success of his first novel.
“So many people were saying such kind things to me, it gave me a totally different opinion,” he explained. “I didn’t know that young people wanted to even read a book like mine or that they like reading so much. It seems like they really are reading, and that really touched me — that our country is in good shape if people want to read books.
Forever the humble author, Lloyd Richards came armed with not only two inscribed copies of his novel for Jenna and Willie, but his own list of book recommendations, highlighting what he says are “excellent reads” that, like his own novel, were “not really well-circulated.”
He highlighted “Cursed in New England,” by Joseph A. Citro, “What Remains of Her,” by Eric Rickstad, and “State of Redemption,” by Richard McKeown.
In addition to having a number one book on Amazon, Lloyd Richards also found out his book will be on display at the “Shop at 30 Rock.”
“We have an entire window dedicated to ‘Stone Maidens,’ so that visitors can stop in and buy it in person,” Jenna revealed. “So maybe you can come and do a singing, what do you think about that?
“Definitely,” the author said.