Shania Hardcastle and Molly Raby from Fizz: An Interview
By Kayley Stanbridge
This issue we speak with Shania and Molly from Fizz, which is an online publishing platform for women and non-binary creatives, where they can share poetry, articles, reviews, short stories and more within a safe and welcoming community.
In regard to what inspired this online platform, both Shania and Molly explain that “during the duration of lockdown, we came to realise that there were limited platforms with accessibility for women and non-binary people to submit creative work.” Both Shania and Molly, as creatives themselves, often actively created pieces of work and wanted to be a part of a like-minded community. This led to them both putting their heads together in August 2020 and deciding to create a platform themselves. “We wanted to create a collaborative and creative network of like-minded writers who felt they could share their work with us, without fear of judgement.”
Both Shania and Molly have worked on Fizz for over a year now and have garnered a strong following of over 1,000 community members online. A challenge that they have faced during this process is remaining current as an online platform. But, they explain “we have overcome this by always providing our community with the latest news and doing extra research ourselves to produce the best content and advice.”
Some skills that both Molly and Shania think they have developed during the creation and maintenance of the Fizz platform are project management skills, proofreading skills when looking over submissions, being able to maintain professional relationships with writers, and core time management skills. In terms of their aims for the next few months and the longer term, Molly and Shania explain, “in the short term, we want to build our community to reach a wider audience, getting more submissions and creatives involved. In the long term, we would love to turn Fizz into a fully-fledged publishing house, as well as making the change from online to print through a collaborative anthology.”
Shania and Molly have also recently launched a podcast (With Extra Fizz) for the Fizz platform and explain the reason for launching this podcast: “We wanted to provide a space for our community to know the people behind Fizz and have a stronger supportive voice. The podcast focuses on our own daily lives as writers and publishers, tip and tricks, and general discussions within the community. We also have guest appearances from writers, which adds a more collaborative approach and represents what Fizz is all about. Finally, the podcast is also simply another medium that our community can access.”
In terms of the Fizz team, Shania and Molly explain “Since the beginning, Fizz has consisted of just us two, but as of August 2021 we expanded our team and recruited three fabulous humans to help create the monthly Fizz newsletter. Although we would love to work in person, remote working has given us the opportunity to keep Fizz flexible and recruit people from all over the country. We have received submissions from people all around the UK and even worked with someone from America. We would love to continue to expand Fizz in the future.”
Shania and Molly explain that the Fizz platform is always looking for new submissions from both new and existing members of the community, whether fictional or non-fictional. “Prospective contributors can head to the submission’s guideline page of our website to find out how to submit work. Our inbox is always open for new submissions and questions alike.
Whilst Fizz was created because we couldn’t see anything like it, after delving into the writing community we have found many writers trying to make the creative world more diverse and welcoming. To mention just a few of our favourites: @charlotte.a.moore, @floodtheatre, @foxandwindmill, @articlesclub, @sunday.onl.”
When asked what the ideal role would be for either Shania or Molly in the publishing industry, they explain to us, “The ideal role for both of us would be Co-CEO of Fizz Publishing, one day… but until that happens, Shania is interested in the marketing side of the publishing world, whereas Molly is more drawn to editorial.”
When asked what had appealed to them within the publishing industry, Shania and Molly explain, “the professional answer to this question is that publishing is a vast creative industry that is special in the way that it combines two parties with a common goal. The real answer is: we just love books.”
Thanks again to the Fizz team for speaking with us for this issue! You can find them on Instagram (@online_fizz) and Twitter (@fizz.online).