By Popular Demand: Now Available as a Book

Yesterday, the BBC published an article about talking to strangers and I was featured prominently in it.

Because of that exposure, I reached 40,000 new people, and during the course of the day, I received dozens upon dozens of heartwarming emails about the Project. I feel so connected to the readers having now read so many of their stories, all I can say is it was very cool and more than a little humbling.

Many, many people have asked if the blog is going to be a book or a movie and I have repeatedly said no. But then, around mid-day, I read an email from a teenager who had attempted suicide. I know, serious stuff. He’s fine now, he got the help he needed, but he said the blog was really inspirational to him because he had always felt so isolated. There’s more to the story but suffice to say it had a big impact on me.

Anyway, long story short, I changed my mind and decided to publish the blog in digital form. It’s just a collection of the posts, but they are collected in chronological order and you can take it with you to the beach or wherever without the hassle of reading it online. I published it at Smashwords because it was quick and easy. Here’s the link. [Edited to add that it’s now available on Amazon here and in the UK here.]

Michelle was instrumental in putting it together in such a short time and she even designed the cool cover for me. I had to charge 99 cents because that’s what the minimum was, but if anyone feels like they don’t want to pay, they can always read it here for free.

My goal of course isn’t to make a big payday here (though the thought did occur to me that this timing is fortuitous with the wedding in ten days). I just wanted to reach as many people as possible and see if my story can inspire people to find their own happiness. I feel so fortunate to have embarked on this journey and to have made friends with so many people in person and online. I just wanted to say thank you. And good luck on your own journeys.

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21 Responses to By Popular Demand: Now Available as a Book

  1. Amy Tee says:

    Hey,

    So I too discovered your blog through that BBC article. I sat here in one go and read the whole thing (sad huh?), but it was like reading a damn good novel, that you can’t put down. I felt like I was on the journey with you, when you were shocked so was I, when you were happy so was I, when you were sad so was I, etc etc etc. Numerous times I put my hand to my mouth and gasped.

    I love your style of writing, very engaging and funny. I am gutted you ended this blog.

    • Thank you for taking the time to write me. It’s been a crazy 24 hours and I’ve been responding to everyone’s emails all day. Good thing I got sacked and have no job to interfere with my duties! (Note my proper use of British “sacked” and not American “fired”.)

      Anyway, thank you for sharing. It means a lot to me to know I’ve had an emotional impact on you.

  2. JR W says:

    I read the beeb article, and have been following your project from July 2010 – I am up to November now – (procrastinating in-between working..). Its fascinating.

    There’s an element of living vicariously through reading it of course, but that’s all good.

    I like the thought that the friends you have made have access to your initial interactions with them and the development of your relationships as they go.

    Congratulations dude.

  3. Luke says:

    I also found the website from the BBC Article (I’m pretty sure the majority of the UK has read your blog by now).

    And, suffice to say, I’m inspired by you. I wrote to you yesterday detailing my situation and I think it’s brilliant that you take the time to give careful measured responses to people.

    I cannot believe that some can be as entertaining as they are inspiring. Thank you for writing this. It may be sad that this has to end, but it is also good that you’re in a good place now, and have completely changed your outlook.

    Thanks.

    -Luke

    • Thanks again, Luke. I was afraid that mentioning the 40,000 visitors might discourage people from writing in (like maybe yesterday they thought they were the only ones but today they’re just a face in the crowd so what’s the point). But I respond to everyone, even people who tell me I suck! After all, it’s kind of hard for me, given the nature of the blog, to ignore strangers who actually sit down and write me a letter. I really do get immense pleasure still to this day in hearing real people tell me their unique situations, their emotional states, and their plans for the future. I feel like a psychiatrist sometimes! But it’s cool. Very cool.

  4. NoAmbition says:

    Amazing … to think that I “knew” you when Michelle was just Elevator Girl.

    Thanks for making the “book”; even in this ‘Net-everywhere age, it’s still often easier and more comfortable (at least for us over-30 folks) to learn new things by holding a fauxbook (my choice: Kindle) in our hands and not having to click so much.

    I hope the wedding was great (you’re married now, right?), and that you keep learning from those around you … and don’t keep any secrets from Michelle!! :)

    • Jam says:

      NoAmbition, I must say, Reading through this whole saga from the beginning, I have enjoyed your comments as much as I have enjoyed Fletchers blog. Your little reactions to each and every episode along the way have complimented Fletchers story magnificently, and if I were him, I hope he’s published your comments, amongst others, in the book aswell. I’m only half way through, and have just been cracking up at your comment on the “Women like frozen yogurt” entry. Looking forward to reading this story to what looks like an awesome ending. Thanks!

      • I guess NoAmbition has his haters and fans–at least he’s evoking some strong feelings. FYI I didn’t publish the comments in the book form as I wanted to “story” to be streamlined and didn’t think I had the necessary permissions to reprint them anyway.

        • Jam says:

          Ah, that’s cool. I use the term “Story” loosely, because I’m not too sure what to call it. The fact that all this actually happened for real is amazing, and I love the continuity of it, like each new post is the next chapter of the book, and you wouldn’t understand it unless you read it from the beginning. It would great as a paperback and an even better film. How cool would that be? By the way Fletch, your sense of humour throughout has been genius, exactly my kind of style! Good work! Right, now where did I get to…

  5. Christina says:

    I’ve been following your blog since 2010. It’s a favorite. Your entries are very entertaining. Even inspiring. I found it while googling my own blog (talk with strangers) which I created around 2008. Like you, I love talking to strangers. But my blog didn’t chronicle it until later — and I suck at updating it.

    I’ve always been fascinated by conversations I have with strangers. Be it personal or just online. And it’s even more amazing when you get to create a relationship beyond the hi-hello. Congratulations on you and Michelle =)

  6. Ben says:

    Hi Fletcher,

    Another BBC – led devotee. I feel as if I’ve just arrived at an event at the wrong time, the event having already happened… and then going around eating the scraps and drinking the dregs, trying to imagine how fun it would have been to be there when it was happenning. But, your blog is none the less fascinating for it! I´ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Glad you picked up a wife in the process too!

    Strangely coincidentally, this week another blog made it to the BBC news and is now all over the world, it´s called NeverSeconds:

    http://neverseconds.blogspot.co.uk/2012_06_01_archive.html

    Maybe you´ve seen it already as it became big news due to it getting banned. It’s on a totally different subject to yours, but the coincidence of two blogs making the news the same week, both inspiring in their own way, struck me.

    On Thursday I applied your modus operandi with the person at the pharmacy till or check-out. At first it seemed like it was going to go down the “loony customer” route, but after a second attempt it worked! Conversation ensued and it even caught another member of staff’s attention who had been standing by the cosmetics wall looking despereately bored. I left with a rewards card which hadn´t been offered in the first place – hope I don´t need to use it too much! But still. So, cheers to you for that!

    I wish you the best in your life ahead, and especially to you and Michelle on your wedding, and I cross fingers that in the future you might find a reason to write another blog in your engaging style. You´ll have a follower.

    All the best,

    Ben

    • Congrats on trying it out. I still get a rush of adrenaline whenever I approach someone new. Even when it goes horribly wrong I still good about it. And more often than not, it goes right in unexpected ways.

      Thanks for writing in!

      P.S. I heard about that kid’s food blog. Great idea he had and kudos to him for making them change!

  7. quiet one says:

    I linked to this through the BBC news website too (maybe you should negotiate a pay per click deal to help fund the wedding!). I feel a little sad to catch your blog so late, but what a sweet ending – the perfect ingredients for a Hollywood movie. Many best wishes on your wedding and marriage :)

  8. Fletcher,

    First and foremost, congratulations on the wedding – I wish you both a very happy time together.

    Your blog was fascinating! I made a similar decision a few years ago to try and engage more with the people around me. I didn’t take it as seriously as you have but it’s fair to say that simply asking “how’s your day going?” to new people really made a world of difference and I’m delighted to see the inspiration you’ve so clearly drummed up in your readers.

    All the best!

  9. JP says:

    I’ve just finished reading the whole thing. I can’t say I found it because of the BBC, it was more like me starting the same actual experiment on my own to then find out about you via google.

    What can I say, it’s been a couple of days since I started reading this, and I fell in love with the way you actually act upon your project (it’s great both learning and reflecting material). Also, obviously, with your story, and all the amazing characters you’ve been finding.

    Long story short, I may be a late arriver, but it’s an amazing blog, and an amazing experience. I’ll miss you all.

    I wish you the best of luck Fletcher.

    PS: Congratulations on you getting married! EG was clearly the right call.

    • Thanks! Since ending the blog I’ve been tempted to check back in but I actually kind of like being out of the public eye. I sometimes go back and read my own story and it doesn’t even seem like me but it’s good to remember where I was to get to where I am now. Anyway, I wish you much success on your own project and hope 2013 turns out to be everything you want it to be.

      –F

  10. Pingback: Practicing Your Interviewing Skills With Strangers | Evgenia (Jenny) Grinblo

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