Three years ago, B. Dylan Hollis was an unemployed musician in Wyoming who had never baked anything outside a home-economics class, much less written a recipe.
Last month, his debut cookbook, "Baking Yesteryear," became the best-selling book in the country. Not just the best-selling cookbook -- the No.1 book.
"Baking Yesteryear," which features vintage American recipes, sold 150,000 copies on its first day, and was one of the most preordered books in the history of its publisher, Penguin Random House -- just behind memoirs by the Obamas and Prince Harry.
Mr. Hollis has no political career or royal-family drama propelling his book. What he does have is 10.2 million followers on TikTok, where he has been posting cooking videos since 2020.
Mr. Hollis, 28, has big, curious eyes and a shapely swoop of hair, and peppers his rapid-fire speech with quaint expressions like "Oh, heavens!"
Like many people, he got bored during the pandemic and began baking. Instead of making sourdough, he channeled his love for all things antique into preparing recipes from old community cookbooks.
His August 2020 TikTok video about pork cake racked up millions of views, and less than two years later, he signed a cookbook deal for what he would only describe as a "grand amount of money."
He is one of several TikTok creators, many of them with little or no professional cooking experience, who have gone from tinkering in their home kitchens to topping best-seller lists in a remarkably short time.
In the process, they've shot a jolt of energy into a sagging cookbook market. Overall sales of cookbooks have fallen 14.5 percent from a year ago, according to the consumer analytics company Circana, and the top 50 cookbooks sold an average of 96,000 copies in the last 12 months.
By comparison, "An Unapologetic Cookbook" by Joshua Weissman (seven million TikTok followers) has sold 316,000 copies. And Mr. Hollis's "Baking Yesteryear" has sold more than 165,000.
No one is more surprised than Mr. Hollis. "I have only been baking for two years," said Mr. Hollis, who divides his time between Wyoming and Bermuda, where he grew up.
"To be known for baking without being trained or even particularly well-versed in the topic, now that is a very peculiar notion." "You have to ask yourself, ‘Who deserves to publish a cookbook?'" he said.
The answer is changing rapidly. TikTok has altered what people look for in a cookbook -- or a cookbook author, said Vanessa Santos, the executive vice president of the publicity firm Mona Creative, which represents several cookbook writers.
"A recipe doesn't need to be all that new or perfect," she said. "It is really just: Are they connecting with a personality?"
Not everyone agrees, even cookbook authors with big fan bases of their own. "When you do a 20-second video making a cake, it is really entertaining and interesting," said David Lebovitz, 64, the Paris-based cookbook author. "But once again, people want solid recipes."