A few years ago, B. Dylan Hollis was an unemployed musician in Wyoming with no cooking experience and a passion for antique recipes. Today, his debut cookbook, “Baking Yesteryear,” is the best-selling book in the United States. With 10.2 million followers on TikTok, Hollis has become one of several TikTok creators who have risen to the top of the cookbook market.
Unlike traditional cookbook authors, many of these TikTok creators have little to no professional cooking experience. Instead, they have found success connecting with their audience through their personalities and entertaining cooking videos. This has injected new energy into a declining cookbook market, which has seen overall sales fall 14.5 percent.
For example, Joshua Weissman, with seven million TikTok followers, has sold 316,000 copies of his cookbook, “An Unapologetic Cookbook.” Joanne Lee Molinaro, known as “The Korean Vegan” to her three million followers, has sold 102,000 copies of her book and won a James Beard award. Hollis, on the other hand, has sold more than 165,000 copies of “Baking Yesteryear.”
While some may question the credibility of these amateur cooks turned cookbook authors, TikTok has become a valuable platform for discovering new talent. Publishers are now offering high six-figure or even seven-figure book deals to TikTok creators, recognizing the platform’s potential for driving sales and reaching a broad audience.
Despite the rapid success of these TikTok cookbooks, there are still some skeptics who argue that solid recipes and culinary expertise are of utmost importance. However, the rise of TikTok as a selling machine cannot be denied. TikTok creators like Hollis, Nadia Caterina Munno, and Jenny Martinez have not only achieved financial success but have also gained prestige publishing their own cookbooks.
As TikTok continues to influence the cookbook market, it is clear that a strong connection with an audience and a captivating personality are key factors for success. The traditional requirements of culinary training and expertise are no longer the sole determinants of who deserves to publish a cookbook.
Sources: The New York Times