From Traineeship to Digital Marketing Expert

Kai's entry into the world of publishing

Why did you decide to do a traineeship at S. Fischer?

There were many reasons for doing a traineeship at S. Fischer. Foremost, the publishing house itself is a traditional establishment with a long and fascinating history, and I did not want to miss out on working in the publishing industry. Ultimately, the formal conditions of the internship, as shown by their two awards from the Jungen Verlags- und Medienmenschen e.V., were a deciding factor.
Unfortunately, traineeships in the publishing industry are often still poorly paid, disproportionately long, and ultimately lack real substance, meaning that many people are unable to participate, leading to significant inequalities in opportunity. S. Fischer sets a good example in this respect.
Moreover, a significant factor in my decision was also the warm atmosphere within the team, which I experienced even before my traineeship. You often hear it, but it's true: Your colleagues make or break your job.

What was your path to becoming a trainee?

Originally, I applied for an internship at S. Fischer as part of my master's studies in “Kunst-Medien-Kulturelle Bildung” (Art Media and Cultural Education), which unfortunately couldn't take place due to my study regulations. However, this was the first time I came into contact with the people responsible for online marketing. After my internship, a position as a student assistant was advertised, which I applied for again. This time luck was on my side, and it worked out. As soon as my master's thesis was submitted, I was allowed to stay on as a trainee, which made me very happy.

What has been an exciting project for you as part of the traineeship?

As a member of the social media team, and the one who operationally managed our TikTok channel, I was able to participate in a few meetings with authors to record content or offer advice. I particularly remember one day with Kerstin Gier, when we made TikTok videos together. It was definitely one of the best workdays I've ever had. In general, taking care of the Fischer TikTok channel is the most exciting project I was entrusted with during my traineeship.

How did your traineeship help you to develop professionally and personally and to expand your skills and knowledge for the next step in your career?

I learned an incredible amount during my traineeship. Not only were the insights into (online) marketing invaluable, but the personal interaction with my colleagues also taught me a lot about self-confidence and dealing with business partners. The diverse insight into the different areas of responsibility, beyond the marketing department, enabled me to broaden my thematic focus and open up various possible career paths.

What fascinates you most about the publishing industry?

I am still most fascinated by the passion with which people in the publishing industry produce and distribute the books they believe in. I think we all believe in the potential power of stories, which is inevitably reflected in the way we bring them into the world. No matter how different one may be, this commonality brings us closer together. But let’s take off the rose-colored glasses for a moment. Of course, the publishing industry also pursues commercial interests. However, I have yet to encounter another industry where people put so much heart and soul into their products.

What developments in the publishing industry do you see as particularly exciting?

I find the influence of social media, and specifically TikTok, on the publishing world and the book world as a whole, very exciting. Through BookTok, readers have created a community and a platform where they can passionately discuss their favorite books and characters. There’s an exchange about tropes and book-boyfriends, about painted book edges and trends. Not just reading, but also the book as an aesthetic product takes on a whole new meaning. The enthusiasm with which readers come together to talk about stories, that might not happen in other media, is what fascinates me most.

Is there a particular book that has shaped your life in some way? If so, could you tell us how and why?

I couldn't possibly choose here, I'm sorry.

What are your tips for a successful and enriching traineeship? 

Jump in the deep end. Throughout my traineeship, I was constantly faced with new challenges, from creating a newsletter to meeting with authors, and participating in book fairs. All of it made me nervous at the start but ultimately helped me grow. Moreover, you should also look beyond the confines of your own department. It can be as simple as having lunch with colleagues from other departments. The important thing is to pay attention to your own stress levels.  You are still learning. It's okay to ask for help before you feel like you're in over your head.

What advice would you give to students or graduates who want to join S. Fischer?

If it doesn't work the first time, don't close the tab with the job listings forever. A new opportunity might arise. You never know.

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Former Trainee in Online Marketing at S. Fischer Publishers, currently: Junior Digital Marketing Manager

"If it doesn't work the first time, don't close the tab with the job listings forever. A new opportunity might arise. You never know."