SPS-401: Breathe Life Into Old Books with TikTok – with Lloyd & Marguerite Richards

Most authors dream of having a viral piece of media push their book to new heights. This was the very reality for LLoyd when Margueritte posted a video about her dad’s book on TikTok. In this episode, they share their success story, as well as an inside look on how their success came to be!

Show Notes

  • The publishing story of LLoyd and Margueritte.
  • How TikTok marketing translated into book sales.
  • What takes off on TikTok.
  • The publishing process and publishers.
  • How does TikTok impact authors?

Resources mentioned in this episode:


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Breathe Life Into Old Books with TikTok - with Lloyd & Marguerite Richards

Speaker 1: On this edition of the Self-Publishing Show,

LLoyd: Before Marguerite did that video, I was ranked around 1600 and within three days I was number one. He

Margueritte: Was at the number one spot for almost a month.

Speaker 1: Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers. No one standing between you and your readers. Do you want to make a living from your writing? Join Indie bestseller Mark Dawson and first time author James Blatch as they shine a light on the secrets of self-publishing success. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Hello and welcome. It is The Self-Publishing Show with me, James Blatch

Mark Dawson: And me Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: Mark Dawson. You've been Vainly going to bookshops to see if they've sold your books. I say Vainly, I mean every author

Mark Dawson: Do that. How those, of course, hardly unusual. No, I in Salsbury with my daughter to go and buy a squish mallow, which you won't probably know whenever that is. A squish mallow. It's a new cuddly toy, which is apparently very popular with the kids. You would think so, but no, you can't. She wanted a present for someone for a birthday party tomorrow. So we went and bought that and wandered past ward stones and I wandered in and was met by, on the outside a huge window display with the new Atticus book, book three in the window, which was very nice. Then a table with all three books right in front, right as you went in the door, which was good to see. And I was standing there and this old geezer went over and started looking at it and Freo was going, it's very good. It's very good. Which is very sweet. And he did actually buy it, but I went up to the desk and just said, would you like me to sign these? Because they generally quite author to sign them. So they said yes. And I got chatting to the bookseller and they've sold a thousand copies,

James Blatch: Wow

Mark Dawson: I think is their biggest only in one branch, obviously in Salisbury. And given that these books are about Salisbury and I'm from Salisbury, it certainly helps. But yeah, a thousand copies and it's great. They were very pleased. I think that's kind of a indication of a hyper-local Facebook campaign. I've been targeting Salisbury and Environs for a little while with something about the book, and I am now starting to see people recognising me in Salisbury, which is quite weird. And people, a few people I didn't know asking me to sign their books, our dog walker and his friend both asked me to sign copies, which is really lovely. And it's a very strange kind of limited, very, very limited kind of fame. And fame is even the wrong word, but it is nice. It is quite nice

James Blatch: Notoriety.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, but same to my daughter as I did that, as we walked out to go and buy the Squish Melow that I remember when I was first published, well, 30 years ago, Jesus, 30 years, 30 years ago, that I'd never seen anyone buy one of my books in a shop whilst I was looking before and or signed a book in a store like that. And always wanted to do that and just goes to show with a little bit of talent and a lot of hard work. It's possible to do all kinds of things these days. So yeah, it was a nice moment. Nove nice to share it with Frere as well to see dad signing books in a store like that. That's

James Blatch: Great.

Mark Dawson: All good.

James Blatch: Hasn't happened to me yet, but

Mark Dawson: Oh, it's a maritime.

James Blatch: I have once seen a copy of my book In the Wild that someone was reading, but

Mark Dawson: Yes. Was that Jill?

James Blatch: Yeah,

Mark Dawson: That was Mrs.

James Blatch: A Stranger. It's happened once I, yes. Okay, well, what have we got coming up? So we have an interview in a minute about a happy ever after story about a Murder in the Woods type book, but a really astonishing story. In fact, they're almost, you talk about being famous. These two have been famous this year. They've been on every breakfast show and every chat show in the States and in the UK and deck

Mark Dawson: Pick up an

James Blatch: Maybe ant or deck. Yes. So we've got them coming up in a moment to talk about what happened to them after 11 years of their book being published and the father's being published and dwindling away. But we have something to announce. We've got a couple of things to announce. Actually. We have a webinar live training coming up. We've been uming and ing about ai, haven't we? Because we know it's very controversial. We know some people absolutely think it's an abomination and it's going to ruin everything. And we have sympathy with some of those arguments on writing. Using AI to generate books is not a great thing for anybody to do, but probably it's going to be happening. Probably is happening. I'm sure it's happening, but we don't necessarily think that we should be doing that, obviously. But the tools available to help us market, to help our Facebook ad look better, get better, read better, are Amazon ads targeting get better, those tools, we just can't sit on this anymore.

We've been using them increasingly in our own jobs and our own marketing, and I've become quite deep into the imaging side of things. You are quite deep into the chat GTS of taglines and targeting side of things. So we have put together some live training, and I think this is a really important live training because I'll tell you why. In 18 months time, all this stuff will be quite easy to do. It'll be button pushing. Services will pop up all over the place. Canva already implementing some AI stuff within their software, but we have a period now as we always do when these new things come along, when the early adopters had the advantage. And we have that for a few months, the year, 18 months, something like that where your books will get more visibility and hopefully more sales as a result of you adopting this first.

Here is your opportunity to do it. We're going to be teaching you how to do this on Wednesday, September the 13th at 9:00 PM in the uk. So that's five hours back in the day in New York, eight hours back in the day. So 1:00 PM something like that in the west coast? No. So probably yes. Yeah, that's right. About 1:00 PM in the West coast. I won't give you exact times. Look those up. 9:00 PM in the uk and we're going to be going through all of the things that we're doing that you should be doing, they should be getting hold of. And there are a couple of subscriptions, but they're much cheaper than you might think to get started. And honestly, it is eyeopening, the possibilities that are at our fingertips. Take a

Mark Dawson: Breath,

James Blatch: Take. We're

Mark Dawson: Talking take breath cla. Let me say something about that. So you said that we shouldn't be using it for writing books. Now I don't think there's nothing really any different in between writing a book and writing a blurb or tagline. It's writing, right? So if people want to write books with ai, that's absolutely fine. They should knock themselves out. But I wouldn't personally, that's not for me and probably not for you either. And probably not for most people because we are in this to be writers. We love writing. Now what I use it for, and I'm using for at the moment is, as you say, it's kind of the shorter pieces of copywriting, which is a very different kind of skill from writing books. And also if you're running Facebook ads and you want to test different taglines, different primary texts, chat GT is amazing at that.

It is really, really good and it is not necessarily going to be good enough to just run with what it gives you, but it'll give you a really good starting point. So there's that images, you've really made huge progress. And some of the stuff that I've seen, the images that you're putting out are great. And we've also seen them work really well in ads, which is quite interesting. So it is an interesting area. It is kind of changing very quickly. The law is uncertain, but what we are trying to do is to use the tools in a way that helps us do the things that we are not so good at. And we're happy to do that. And also to make sure that we stay on the right side of the law, and that's a fast changing thing as well. So anyway, it is definitely going to be, it's interesting, and we are going to be teaching some AI stuff with regards to advertising in the new version of the ads course, which is out soon. I think it might be your second announcement. And this webinar, I would strongly recommend coming to see it because some of the things that we are doing with the images especially is really, really interesting. So definitely one to put in the diary.

James Blatch: So we will be adding a module on AI marketing tools for authors like AI ads for authors. I think we're calling actual go into Facebook into, what's it called? Mark Dawson's, advertising for authors. Course

Mark Dawson: Ads

James Blatch: For Authors, which opens on the 13th ads for authors. It's going to have a load of stuff to start off with, but that will be a very dynamic module that will grow over the next year or so. Yeah, looking forward to that. So you can sign up in advance for the webinar. It doesn't guarantee you a seat, just get there a few minutes early to guarantee yourself a seat, I would say. But you can sign up if you go to self-publishing marketing, AI marketing, all one word. And yes, we expect that to be a pretty busy full, probably full webinar, a thousand seats. I think we have maximum. So as for authors opens on the 13th, we open for a couple of weeks and you have an opportunity from 9:00 PM in the uk, but at the same time as webinar starts, actually coincidentally to sign up for ads for authors and get in on that programme that has taken so many authors from, well, some of them to Seven Figures plus, but many authors.

It's taken them from their nine to five job to being a full-time writer and possibly even retiring the other half, which has been one of the brilliant things. And we'll meet more people who are in exactly that boat because we're going to NNC in the Florida Beach, hopefully hurricane free. They've just had one sweep through. I've been seeing some pictures from Nathan Vanco who lives in the area, and it got pretty floody I should say, after that surge. Now we always have a little get together. We have some drinks, but I'm hearing some disturbing news. That's the venue we use. The Shark Tooth Tavern has closed what? Which is I know, how dare they. So I don't have a venue for you. It's a

Mark Dawson: Hotel. They must have a bar.

James Blatch: They have a bar in a hotel. Well have the Tiki Bar. Of course. Tiki Bar. Yeah, I think I'm going to have a little look around. We might do something like the Toasted Monkeys just down the road. But anyway, I'm going to give you a date, which is the 21st of September. It's a Thursday night. So it's basically the beginning of the weekend. Thursday night. I won't

Mark Dawson: Be there, but that's okay.

James Blatch: Oh, why won't you be there? Where are you? Be I? I'm in

Mark Dawson: Mexico City that night.

James Blatch: How about the 20th then? This is great planning, isn't it? Yeah, the 20th. I'll tell you what, let's do the 20th. Wednesday the 20th, Wednesday the 20th. Ignore everything I just said about Thursday, Wednesday the 20th, which is basically the start of the weekend, just slightly earlier. And it'll be at St. Pete's Beach in Florida, which is near Tampa, St. Petersburg area. And we will give you an absolute venue on our well next week in the podcast, but also on our Facebook page or Facebook group. So you should watch in there. I've got anything else to say. So much going on at the moment, mark. Good, I think that covers it. Okay, good. Alright, well look, let's us move on to our interview. So our interview is with Lloyd and Marguerite Richards. Lloyd Richards is the dad, Marguerite is his daughter. Lloyd wrote a book about 11 years ago actually.

It was a decent book, very good book. It was picked up by Amazon Imprint, Thomas and Mercer, I think, from memory. And they published it, but they weren't self-published people, they didn't market it or they sort of waited for the sales to come in. Of course, with one book it's quite difficult and it basically dwindled away to nothing. But Lloyd had a good story in him. He was inspired by real events and 11 odd years later, he sort of sat at his desk writing the sequel to it and his daughter made a 16 second TikTok saying, look, how amazing is my dad writing this second book? Just because he loves it and he thinks it should be out there, despite the fact nobody really bought book one or 55 million views later, number one on the Amazon store for about a month they have been on a rollercoaster ride. That is a story of our time when it comes to social media and TikTok in particular. Let's me pick that up then with Lloyd and Marguerite and Mark, and I'll be back for a quick chat at the end of the interview.

Speaker 1: This is the self-publishing show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Lloyd and Margueritte, very warm. Welcome to the Self-Publishing Show. I'm so excited to hear this story. It is quite remarkable and a bit of a story of our time about how things work in the modern world.

Lloyd, why don't I start with you, before we mention anything about what happened, just tell us a little bit about you as a writer, your book, how long it took to Write and so on.

LLoyd: Yes. Well, stone Maintenance, I think you're talking about the first book. I was a lawyer full-time here in Montpelier, Vermont at a life insurance company, a regulatory lawyer, and I was around 45, mid forties. I had this desire to write a book. I went to law school in Indiana, in Bloomington, southern Indiana, beautiful hardwood forest country. And there was an incident that happened while I was in school. There was a co-ed, there were several co-eds who were attacked and murdered in woods. We have a lot of dense hardwood forests in Indiana. And one of the people that was attacked, survived. And I happened to know this person and I visited her in the hospital.

They never did find her assailant. I spoke with some state detectives who believed that her attacker was similar to these other murder victims. And I'm telling you that as background, because when I moved to Vermont, about 10 years in is when I had this desire to write a book and it's centred around a crime incident that I just spoke of in Indiana when I was in law school. But it was obviously going to be fiction and it involves a lot of other elements, which I don't want to give away. But I didn't know how to write a book, James. I was a lawyer. I knew how to write affidavits and motions and I could analyse regulations, but I really wanted to find out how to write a book. So there's a local college here in Montpelier that had a writing school, and I communicated with an instructor there and told him what I had a full-time job.

I wanted to work on the side learning how to write a novel, and he worked with me for two years. I learned all the ins and outs, backstory, front story, dialogue, pace, descriptive writing, how to package a book so that it moves, what are you trying to accomplish in this book? So I had to learn everything and I made a tonne of mistakes. That's why it took me upwards part-time of 14 years to come to a point where I could share this book in New York trying to interest a literary agent that took me seven months to find somebody that wanted to take me on very hard to break into publishing when you're nobody as I was. And I did find an agent and she did sell the book, but the book did okay my first year, I think Thomas and Mercer, Amazon bought it. They believed this book would be a bestseller. They hoped it would be, but that didn't happen. And now maybe I had to turn it over to my daughter. Yeah,

James Blatch: Well, first of all, it took me 10 years to write my first book and I had no idea. Regular listeners will know. They followed this story along with me. Nobody knows how to write a book, but brilliantly, you took yourself off to school, you taught yourself, and Thomas and Mercer don't just pick up any books by any question. So you obviously did a great job in writing that book.

So you have it published, it's sitting there, you're not really sure about marketing Marguerites, you come in at the stage.

Margueritte: Yeah, so I watched my dad write as I was growing up, and I knew he had written an incredible book and then when it didn't really sell for 11 years, and I saw how positive he stayed. And as I've said before, he actually wrote the sequel in that time, which is when he finished the sequel, that's when I was really touched that he never gave up and kept going. It was almost like it didn't matter. It was just a passion he had. So I love consuming TikTok and I thought I would make a little video just hoping a few people would learn about his book and read it. And we all know it was a little more than a few people. It happened to go very viral. And

James Blatch: How quickly did that happen? So the video we should just explain, people can go and look it up, but the video itself is you basically little filming father from a distance and saying, I'm really proud of my dad. He's written this book second him a long time. It's not that much more to the video, right? It's that's basically what you filmed.

Margueritte: Yeah, it's pretty simple and it was very real to me. That was where I would watch him writing growing up. So it meant a lot to me. Of course no one knew that part, but I knew when I went to bed that night, it didn't really have any views. And I think one person comment that they were like, oh, I'll check it out on Amazon. Which again, I was like, I thought that was a great success, just that one person would read it. And then I woke up to it around 700,000 views and climbing rapidly and just actually when I saw that, I just started crying because not only were there views, there were a lot of comments and a lot of followers saying, I'm going to go check it out, I'm going to go check it out. I was just like, whoa, that's a lot of people going to check out my dad's book. So it was amazing. And then it just took off from there. I mean, I think by the end of that day it was into the millions of views

James Blatch: That is incredible and had any sort of viral success before on TikTok, do you have a lot of followers?

Margueritte: No, no. In the account I started had zero followers. Yeah, that was the first video ever posted. And yeah, he had a couple hundred thousand followers within a few days. Amazing. I see that. It's just incredible. And it was so above and beyond any expectation

James Blatch: Because you are published by Thomas and Mercer Lloyd, you don't have access to the dashboard like I self-publish, so I can go in and I can see daily sales, but

you wouldn't have known at this stage whether it was translating into sales. How did you find out what impact the video had had?

LLoyd: Did you have an author page

Margueritte: And it was really behind that led bilingual month?

LLoyd: It took a while because being a publisher and a seller, they have to go through the credit checking and all that. So it would be behind, but what wasn't behind, I could see the ranking of my book. So before Marguerite did that video, I was ranked, I'll say around 1600

Margueritte: If that. Yeah, thousands

LLoyd: In thrillers and mysteries, pretty high ranking. Then within a couple of days, I was down around 20 and within three days I was number one

James Blatch: In that category or in the store in that all books,

Margueritte: Amazon,

LLoyd: All books

Margueritte: Was, he was at the number one spot for almost a month, which is a long time because a lot of people will sometimes hit there and then drop again. He stayed there and we couldn't see any numbers for a long time, but we could just see that he was at number one. So it was

James Blatch: Did anybody from Thomas and Mercer drop you an email and say, Hey, what's going on with your book?

Margueritte: Well, eventually they sent

LLoyd: Me some flowers. Be honest,

Margueritte: I got it. Yeah, no, you were very sweet about it. They were just as shocked as us.

LLoyd: They weren't expecting that and 11 year old book and all of a sudden he's number one.

Margueritte: All of a sudden the printer had to be fired up.

James Blatch: Yeah, of course. Yeah. Print on demand, we

LLoyd: Got calls inundated with media. Good Morning America, the Today Show,

Margueritte: Drew Barrymore, Kelly Clarkson, drew

LLoyd: Barry, Kelly Clarkson, and then all the Newsprint Media, Washington Post, New York Times, New York Post, Boston Globe.

Margueritte: It was incredible.

LLoyd: All around. I had interviews, wonderful interviews with a guy in England, b b C radio, sir, I don't even know him, but he was a wonderful interview, sir

James Blatch: James? Well,

LLoyd: I don't know his last name. I can't remember. I didn't get a copy of the interview. I trying to

James Blatch: Figure that might be the two, sir. James, I can think of one's dead and one's retired, but there probably are some other Sir Jameses. Yeah, I'll think about that

LLoyd: Last name.

James Blatch: So I mean,

first of all, do you have any idea why the video took off? Marguerite? You consume TikTok content, so you have I do a reasonable grasp of seeing what takes off.

Margueritte: Yeah, I think outside of the little bit of magic that was included, because to go that viral also takes a little bit of whatever you want to call it, luck or magic or whatever. But I think my guess is that I really showed my dad, I didn't just put up a picture of his book and say, oh, you should go read this book on Amazon. I mentioned that, of course, but it was more like his story of how long it took him. I mean, by a story, I mean a 16 second story of just how long he worked and then 11 years of essentially no sales and just showing him, and I think people got an energy read from him. The comments were just saying how cut he is. And so I think it's just enough of a translation in that short time to see that here's someone who worked really hard and wrote a nice book, and I guess it was enough to inspire people, which is, we're just so grateful for that too. I want to make that clear. It's incredible what happened.

James Blatch: Yeah, and I think sincerity was a part of that. It was a very sincere video from you, and I think TikTok rewards that and doesn't reward. We can see fakeness quite quickly. And since I think equally sees sincerity,

Margueritte: I think that's a really good point actually. It was very real little love letter to my dad. It wasn't like trying to be fancy or special camera work or anything. It was just very authentic. I think that's what people liked.

James Blatch: Without getting too crude about it, I imagine you've seen a rise in your royalties, Lloyd.

LLoyd: Yes. I'll say that after the first month, that first month, I sold over a hundred thousand books, but a lot of them were Kindle understand, and the author royalty rate is around what, seven and quarter percent.

Margueritte: But no, it's amazing. It

LLoyd: Is still, no, no, I'm very grateful. I am very grateful. I was not, let me put it this way, James, in January, I had zero sales,

James Blatch: Right? So I mean a small percentage of a big numbers quite a lot still, so that's great. And it carried on.

So where's the book now? How long is the tail being of this episode?

Margueritte: So now we, well, just last week, his SQL published

LLoyd: Means of the Cave, and it's doing quite well. It's with Harper Collins, Morrow Imprint. I decided to go with him because my agent is in New York City and a lot of the big publishers are there, and she got contacted by the Harper Collins people, and they really, really wanted this sequel.

Margueritte: It's amazing. It is

LLoyd: Amazing.

James Blatch: You weren't tempted to self-publish with all this marketing genius you've got sitting next you,

LLoyd: Well,

Margueritte: I guess we don't really know that world very well. Yeah,

LLoyd: I can't really explain this any better than she's tried or any of us to understand why this happened. But I encourage everyone self-published or regular traditional publishing don't give up. I mean, I certainly had a lot of doors slammed in my face and I kept at it, and just getting an agent was hard and really getting my book published to me was such a reward. I felt so proud of myself just having accomplished something when I didn't know at all how to write a book in the beginning. And my daughter says, I enjoyed the character I created so much. I had to continue her story. And in fact, I'm currently writing a third in the same saga of the same forensic scientist, Christine.

James Blatch: I think that's a really good point to make, and we make it all the time that writing a novel is really hard. It's a huge lifetime achievement, and even if one person reads it, it's something to be proud of and that you can be proud of. And it seemed to me the way Marguerite was describing it, that you were very happy to be settled for that. Obviously everyone wants a bit more, but you went on and you carried on and you wrote Book two. Yes. Not disheartened.

LLoyd: No.

James Blatch: And that triggered Mar making the video, so that did turn out to be a good move.

LLoyd: Yes, I really, I was a lawyer and I worked for my career as a corporate lawyer in a back office job. It wasn't a really snazzy job, but my point being, I didn't have to rely on writing as a way to survive, and I know how difficult that is now. I can really appreciate it now, how difficult it is.

James Blatch: Yeah. Do you mind me? Sorry, Margaret, go on.

Margueritte: Oh, I was just going to say, I think it was just his passion and love of writing. That was sort of the point for him. It was never about the sales. Of course, this is a gift, but what I hear him say all the time, even after all this is he's just the happiest to inspire other people to keep going and that people are enjoying his writing. It's not about the money, of course, that's a wonderful icing on the cake, but he's always just focused on his passion of writing. So that's what's always inspired me.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Thomas and Mercer a bit upset that you went with Harper Collins of the sequel. How was that conversation?

Margueritte: I hope not.

LLoyd: We're doing blogs such as yours, podcasts, and it's a different feel now. I mean, what happened in February was extraordinary, and

Margueritte: I think they understand though, and they've been wonderful to work with too. Absolutely.

James Blatch: They are great. I know you really are several colleagues who are published by various Amazon imprints, and they do send presents and gifts and letters and say they always celebrate success.

Margueritte: Absolutely. They made us feel so special, and even when we ended up going with a traditional publisher, which was sort of just because we couldn't believe that my dad had the opportunity, they completely understood, which was their class acts, I thought.

LLoyd: In fact, we were also dealing with the UK's Harper Collins subsidiary, the hq, and they loved the book. And anyway, they've been very sweet to me. They sent me some flowers last week.

James Blatch: There you go. How lovely.

And you've kept the account going, Marguerite, I know you are still active on that. Is that the plan to try and continue? TikTok clearly was a good channel for you.

Margueritte: Yeah, my dad, and I mean, he obviously knew nothing about it in January, and now it's something we do together that's really fun. And so as long as we don't put a lot of pressure on anything, as long as people are enjoying seeing him and the updates and knowing what's going on with him, we love doing it so day by day, but so far so good.

James Blatch: There is actually a lovely video in there after the viral one where you show your father the success that first video had.

And Lloyd, you're kind of looking at it saying, can I touch this? This is almost like, is this real? If I touch it, will it go away?

Margueritte: Yeah. He was afraid of deleting it or something. So when it went viral, nobody knew. I don't even really, it's hard to remember everything's run together, but he didn't even really know I posted the video, so he didn't know anything about it. And when I started seeing all the comments, they were like, we want to see his reaction. We want to see his reaction. So I made sure not to tell him till he was with me, and I was actually so glad I got to capture that moment. That was a really good suggestion on everyone's part because it's a really special moment. It still makes me cry to look at it. We were both crying and it was so real and was so, it's hard to put into words what it was. It felt like magic.

James Blatch: And it's funny, I'm a big advocate of TikTok. I really enjoy it. I enjoy my posts on there as well. And I often end up defending it in two ways. One is, first of all, people's other authors who look and feel like me and Lloyd say, or isn't it just dancing girls? That's the first thing they say. And I say, well, you know, whatever you're into, there's something, there's a big community on TikTok. The other thing I think, and I know the algorithm reflects your interests, but I think TikTok can be a really joyous place that celebrates success and celebrates humanity and is funny and incredibly creative. And I think this story kind of shows that there is a really positive community on TikTok.

Margueritte: Absolutely. And that's actually what drew me to TikTok with Covid and everything, because when I first went on, I thought it was a bunch of dancing too, and it's so not that. It's like saying movies are about one thing. I mean, there's a movie about everything. So, oh, just there's human beings on there, and there's wonderful human beings on there with incredible stories to share. And that's when I started falling in love with it. And we have found a wonderful corner of TikTok for the most part, even with a video that viral, there is so little trolling on it or hate comments or anything. It's really one 57 million kind people who have seen that video. It seems so judge to show that it's a human place, TikTok, it's not just one thing.

James Blatch: Yeah, absolutely. Lloyd enjoying doing the TikTok. I mean, you haven't done any dancing, as I assume, although I haven't checked out. It's possible.

LLoyd: She does the TikTok. I don't have the app, but I see them. I can see them. If I go to Google,

Margueritte: I show him the videos,

LLoyd: But it's I, how can I believe that? It's a very good force in America. It's told me how many young people who are on it read books. And that's a real positive thing in my thinking that people are getting enjoyment out of it and they're reading books and they're learning from it, and I think it's largely a very positive experience.

Margueritte: We have a lot of fun doing it. Yeah, we

LLoyd: Do.

James Blatch: Yeah. Oh, that's the important thing as well. And yeah, it's worth pointing out. I mean, we know, we talked to TikTok quite a lot. In fact, I'm going to the HQ here in the UK next week for an award ceremony, and they pointed out to me, I knew book Talk, the hashtag book talk was a big, very big, very well used hashtag, but I didn't realise it was actually the single biggest hashtag on TikTok. TikTok. So books for whatever reason, are really huge on TikTok. You probably didn't even know that. Margarite, I'm assuming when you made this video,

Margueritte: I had no idea. And actually I didn't know that fact until you just said it now. That's amazing. I didn't know that. And I knew after learning through this process that I guess romance books are really big on TikTok, but not thriller books. And so this is kind of an extra anomaly because it is a thriller book that's actually selling because of TikTok,

James Blatch: Which is great. And I sell my thriller books and I write military thrillers, which are also not exactly the opposite of romance, but not necessarily aligned with them. And yeah, they do really well through TikTok.

Again, finding, it's all about finding your audience, but they're all there. Everyone's there on TikTok one way or another.

Margueritte: I think it is such a cool, because I didn't know that twist to find out that because of TikTok, so many more people are reading. It seems like TikTok would take from that time. But our favourite comment we see is, and I'm sure you see this too, is people saying, this is the first book I've read in a while, or because of you, I'm reading again, or about that guy graphic because of book talk. I'm reading again,

LLoyd: The graphic, the guy that did a graphic of stone maintenance. It's beautiful.

Margueritte: Oh, on YouTube? Yeah.

LLoyd: Unbelievable.

Margueritte: He did illustrations to it. Oh, wow.

LLoyd: Drew. Yeah, he drew the story. It was unbelievable. He had the sheriff, he had the killer. It's just incredible.

James Blatch: The book

Margueritte: Really opened that up for everyone. It's amazing.

James Blatch: You should do a special edition with his illustrations. Collaborative. Collaborative, collaborate with 'em.

So the book itself obviously inspired by the serial killer, is it quite a dark book or is there a redemption? Is it sort of uplifting without giving too much away?

LLoyd: Well, I'm very careful on gruesome. I walk the line and I think most people have said that have read it. I allude to things, but I don't, it's not graphic in that sense. But the lead character is a female forensic scientist, and she's a very powerful person. She is opinionated. She doesn't like it if she's told to stay back or do things according to the optics, the politics of the office. Once she has a inkling of what's going on, she goes off on her own and gets in trouble for it. She can be sassy with her superiors, but she's intelligent and she is courageous, and she's such a powerful force. I was raised myself by my grandmother. My mother died when I was young. My grandmother took custody of me, and she was a very intelligent, artistic person who believed part of every day should be dedicated to reading a book. So even as a youngster, I was adopted by her when I was seven. I would read a book in the afternoon, parts of a book every day, and I think that had a big influence on me as to why I have a female protagonist lead in stone maidens, Ann Maiden's the Cave. It's the same lead. She had such a pronounced effect on me developing this character that I've continued on with a third book, and it's possible I'll do another one. I don't know.

James Blatch: It's easy starting to see why the book's taken off and been so well written with that kind of motivation behind it. That's great. Have you had any conversations with Hollywood or Netflix or

LLoyd: It did get some buzz? I think a lot of things do in the beginning, particularly when there's so much interest as a result of the TikTok virality, but then as you know, they've had this strike going on, so things have cooled down, but who knows? I mean, England even showed an interest initially. Who knows though these things can come back, particularly if I have a third book, and depending on how that plays out, it's possible. I'd certainly welcome it.

James Blatch: Of course you would, and that would be brilliant. Well, the first thing I'm going to do off this interview is speak to my daughter and try and find out why she hasn't made this happen for me. She's in Australia at the moment. It's probably going to be her excuse, but no, she's also very supportive, and it is, as you say, Marguerite, there's an X factor here. There's some magic pixie dust, and who knows that? We can see elements of why, but it's hard to say why at that moment something suddenly bloomed in the way that it did. I'm so delighted for you that it did. It's terrific.

Margueritte: Oh, thank you so much. Thank

LLoyd: You, James.

James Blatch: It's been a real pleasure talking to you. We should look out for it. Just give the sequel a bit of a plug, Lloyd, because we know Stone Maidens is the first book and the sequel's just out now, or

LLoyd: Yes, maidens of the Cave came out earlier this week, and it's once again, sheriff McFaren and the lead character forensic scientist, Christine Prusick, and it involves southern Indiana as a location again and southern Illinois, and it's about missing co-eds that are discovered in caves. And what,

James Blatch: Well, this sounds to me like it needs to be a Netflix miniseries at some point.

Margueritte: That would be amazing. Yeah, anything is possible. And same with you in your books. You just never know. Yeah, you

James Blatch: Never know. Thank you, Margaret. Yes. You never know. Well look, brilliant to share your success. Really heartwarming story. We'll look out for everything that you write from now on Lloyd, and yeah, I'll look out for that TV series when it happens. So just want to say thank you so much indeed for taking some time and joining us.

Margueritte: Thank you so much. Thank you too, James.

Speaker 1: This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Love to speaking to Lloyd and Marguerite were absolutely lovely father and daughter who wouldn't want a daughter like Marguerite looking after us and helping all that stuff happen, and they're still very active. You can follow them on TikTok. They post most days, and I keep a good eye on them, so that was really, really nice interview. Happy interview, smiley, happy, uplifting interview.

Mark Dawson: Well, I've been number one in the Amazon store for a month. I'm not surprised they're smiling because I'd be smiley too. Actually, I wish my, I've got to get my daughter. She's 11 now, actually 12 roundabout now, so I've got to get her involved in the business. I don't want her to go on TikTok. I've got to keep her off social media yet she can produce content for me. How am I going to work that one out?

James Blatch: Yeah, well, Instagram, I suppose.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, I suppose so. Yeah. Anyway, yeah, there's in a few cases like that recently, I suppose we mentioned before a while ago, there was that guy, he was signing copies of his book and it was a bit sad that he wasn't signing as many as he was hoping for, and an influencer did a TikTok and then he went to number one as well. So there's no question TikTok, if you strike get lucky, it can have a huge effect,

James Blatch: And it does, and obviously it's quite difficult, the viral lottery to strike it. Lucky like that, you certainly can't guarantee it, but one thing we can take away from it is that TikTok is an app that rewards sincerity. I think when you overdue stuff, which I tend to do a bit as well because do my video editing and posh photography and stuff, it never does as well as somebody who's holding a phone saying, look at my dad. Isn't he amazing? Or, oh, hello, old chap. Can I just film you for TikTok? Because it's nice that you're sitting here signing books. That stuff works really well. Just being yourself is a good tip, A good takeaway from that. Yeah.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: Good. Okay, look, just a reminder that you can sign up for our webinar on AI tools for authors AI marketing, and that is at self-publishing marketing. That will be on Wednesday, September the 13th. I'll get in there sooner rather than later. It's going to be a very busy webinar. This is the next chapter, no question about it. This is the next chapter in indie publishing. It is an important here to stay phenomenon. Ai and using the tools now is going to give you an edge for some time in the future, and we will hopefully have a live in person. You can come and pump the flesh. Is that a word? Shake? Shake our hands, press the flesh.

Mark Dawson: Jesus Christ.

James Blatch: You can hug us, kiss us on both cheeks like we do in Europe.

Mark Dawson: Someone can pump your flesh, if you will. They're not pumping my flesh

James Blatch: On Wednesday the 20th of September in St. Pete Beach in Florida. We're going to be there in person, and it'd be lovely if you came and said hello to us.

Mark Dawson: Lucky. It's lucky no one listens to the podcast. It's just me and you basically. So it doesn't matter what, we can have as much innuendo as we want. It's fine.

James Blatch: Well, I'll tell you what, if you're listening and you come along, and the secret word is

Mark Dawson: Pump James's Flesh

James Blatch: Pump, James' Flesh. I want to pump James' Flesh, and then I'll buy you drink on the night.

Mark Dawson: Okay. On that bombshell

James Blatch: And on that lawsuit. Yeah, I'll say all that remains for me to say is it's a goodbye from him

Mark Dawson: And a goodbye from me. Goodbye.

James Blatch: Goodbye.

Speaker 1: Get show notes, the podcast archive and free resources to boost your writing career at self-publishing Join our thriving Facebook group at Self-publishing Support the [email protected] slash self-publishing show, and join us next week for more help and inspiration so that you can make your mark as a successful indie author. Publishing is changing, so get your words into the world and join the revolution with the Self-Publishing Show.

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