What you learn when your dad's decade-old thriller goes viral on TikTok

In this screenshot from a TikTok video, author Lloyd Devereux Richards learns that his daughter helped his book "Stone Maidens" go viral and earn sales for the first time in years.

(CNN)When Marguerite Richards made a TikTok bragging about her father's decade-old thriller novel, she was hoping to rouse a little interest. A few dozen new readers, maybe. As the first few positive comments started rolling in, she was pleased to have done something nice for a dad who definitely deserved it.

She had no idea that, within a matter of days, millions of people would see her video, and her father's book would rocket to the top of Amazon's Best Seller list.
Lloyd Devereux Richards first published "Stone Maidens" in 2012. It's a thriller about an FBI agent following a killer in Indiana and, by his daughter's account, it's quite good. However, the publishing industry is a fickle mistress, and the original release failed to drum up excitement.
      It's a different world now, with TikTok and other tight-knit book communities rocketing titles to fame overnight. Richards, the daughter, decided to try her luck.
        "I saw how much time and effort and passion my dad put into his book. I know what a lovely storyteller he is," she told CNN. "He never stopped writing, and he always stayed positive."
          Whether it was the gripping thriller, the author's unassuming Vermont mien, or the efforts of a proud, tech-savvy daughter, the story of Lloyd Devereux Richards and "Stone Maidens" struck a chord.
          "Stone Maidens" by Lloyd Devereux Richards.
          Marguerite Richards posted the first TikTok about "Stone Maidens" about two weeks ago. It has since received 48 million views and innumerable positive responses. As every good story needs a sequel, Richards posted more videos of her father, the author of the hour, delighting in his unexpected success.
          This particular episode falls under a social media genre best described as "Young people giving their elders love and recognition on a platform the latter doesn't understand." It's a fruitful one, full of parents just like Lloyd Devereux Richards who wake up one morning to find their talents, hobbies or peculiar habits have been broadcast to the world -- and won them legions of admirers.
          "My dad wasn't really sure what TikTok is, but he has been so pleased and grateful," Richards says. "I love how people are appreciating him. Even some brands have commented. A few weeks ago, these people didn't know who he was. And now the Tootsie Roll account is cheering him on."
          The experience has breathed new life into a labor of love. It's also driven home some lessons about inspiration and determination.
          "A lot of people who are struggling with a project, who thought they were way off track, this has given them the inspiration to recharge," Richards says. "Everyone can relate to the feeling of being a late bloomer."
          A screenshot from Marguerite Richards' original TikTok video highlighting her father's book, "Stone Maidens."
          At the same time, the duo has been overwhelmed by the kindness and open-mindedness of millions of strangers.
          "We can see the analytics of who's following and watching us. We read as many comments as we can," Richards says. "There are young people who have said they've never bought a book for pleasure, or they don't read a lot. And now they're sitting down, they're reading and they're loving it."
            "My dad is thrilled that young people are reading."
            Now, Lloyd Devereux Richards has more than 360,000 TikTok followers and a brand new story to tell. He has plans for the future, too, though it would be very un-authorly of him to give them all away at once.