In just five short years, the followers of Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” Facebook page and blog have grown to 12 million. What keeps them coming back is the stories shared by the people in Stanton’s photos. In October, St. Martin’s Press will publish Humans of New York: Stories, a follow-up to the first book, Humans of New York, which was a smashing success, topping bestseller lists everywhere.

The book’s editor, Michael Flamini, executive editor at St. Martin’s Press, says, “The first book was all about the photos; it was an incredible photographic record. The next book, Stories, is different in that it reflects where HONY is today—it really goes in-depth into the stories of these people’s lives. It’s all about the stories.”

Stanton suspects that the wide appeal of the stories is “the combination of intimacy and anonymity, paired with a very raw, very genuine, very honest disclosure” about the lives of the people he photographs. In a city like New York, we have very little time. Also, on social media, we tend to project a very manicured, egotistical image of ourselves. HONY tends to show people in an honest and vulnerable light.”

Flamini—a HONY follower since before St. Martin’s acquired Stanton as an author—agrees. “I think that people are drawn to the stories. You think, ‘Oh my—that could be me!’ Or you see a photo that inspires you so much that you think about it—a lot. If I’m ever feeling terrible about my own life, I think of these pictures. He has a way of bringing people outside of themselves and showing what a community we all are.”

This article appeared in the May 31, 2015 edition of PW BookCon Daily.