Campaign Spotlight: Old Enough by Haley Jakobson
By Amy Greensmith, Danielle Hernandez, Emily Lavin and Georgia Rees
Old Enough is the debut novel by Haley Jakobson, an emerging writer from Brooklyn, who uses her work to explore mental health and wellness, queerness, sex and trauma and bodies.
The novel follows Sav, a sophomore who is coming to accept her bisexuality as she embarks on a journey to leave her childhood behind. But when her best friend announces her engagement, Sav faces a crisis when a trauma she thought was left in the past creeps back into her life. Much like Jakobson’s other writing, Old Enough explores queer love, community and what it means to be a young survivor of assault.
For this issue, we look at the marketing campaign for Old Enough, examining the strategic social media campaign, the utilisation of Jakobson’s active social platforms and a special book tour of indie stores.
As a self-proclaimed “Very Online Bisexual” (haleyjakobson.com), it is unsurprising that Haley would be very involved in the marketing of her book, with an Instagram account reaching 31,000 followers as of June 2023. Haley has spent eight years writing long-form personal essays and poetry on the internet and has created a tight-knit community of followers and friends. Her first post about the upcoming Old Enough, posted over a year before publication, reads as an ode to friendship and to the people who have supported her writing for all these years. The informal conversational style to Haley’s marketing posts makes this not feel like marketing at all, but like a friend sharing intimate details of their life, whilst subtly drawing our attention to her upcoming release.
Through Haley’s account we often get to see behind the scenes of her life, and the publishing of her debut novel is no exception. A few weeks prior to publication, Haley shared a reel of her and her team packing up one hundred exclusive PR boxes, aka Big Bisexual Boxes, to send to bloggers and reviewers. Taking the theme “Old Enough’s Campus Essentials,” the box included a signed copy of the book, a bag of Partner’s Coffee, Marianella face masks, a Papier notepad, a Miranda Watson Designs scrunchie and a Bellesa vibrator, all enveloped in bisexual-coloured confetti.
Every step of the way, Haley’s marketing posts have felt like the personal posts of a close friend, perhaps perfectly exemplified by her thirtieth birthday post to herself, just four days before publication, in which she shared a reel of a photoshoot she did with all of her friends reading copies of Old Enough on the subway, because “every author dreams of seeing someone read their book on the subway.”
A book tour is a fantastic way to promote a new book and engage with readers. For Haley Jakobson, an author with an existing online community, a book tour provides an all-important opportunity to foster real-life connections with her followers and a sense of excitement surrounding her debut novel. For readers and fans, book events are an exciting way to learn more about a writer’s inspiration and impetus.
In-person events can be instrumental in the successful promotion of a new release. As such, it is no surprise that the marketing team for Old Enough have organised an exciting and jam-packed US book tour. The book tour commenced on 20 June 2023, in line with the novel’s launch day. To kick off publication day, Jakobson took a tour of indie bookshops throughout New York City, signing copies of her debut. The day concluded with an exciting launch event at what might be Manhattan’s most iconic literary location: The Strand bookstore. She spoke in conversation with Nina Haines – founder of the Sapph-Lit book club – delving into topics such as finding chosen family, queer awakenings and the complexities of femme friendships.
A successful book tour relies on effectively engaging the target audience. With this in mind, the book tour for Old Enough hits all the right notes: every stop on the tour sees Jakobson in conversation with other authors and creators who are active online and relevant to the novel’s intended audience.
Given the well-crafted social media campaign and book tour, it is no surprise that Jakobson’s debut is being touted as a must-read for summer 2023.