Strong Girl Publishing makes athletically-oriented books + content for middle grade and young adult girls, written by young women athletes.
We’re here to help girls see themselves in sport and outdoor adventure, inspiring them to try new activities by creating engaging stories around girls in sport, through books. We’ve also carved out a space for young women athletes who are looking for a platform to share their voices.
At Strong Girl Publishing, our athlete authors aren’t just great at their sports: We celebrate girls and women as multifaceted individuals who don’t fit into any one box. We don’t believe that girls or women should ever have to choose being an athlete at the cost of any other part of their being. Our readers and our authors are strong women, but not just physically.
She can be anything: She can be into punk rock and want to PR her 5K. She can love fashion while figuring out how to get grass stains out of her soccer uniform. She can read books on the team bus instead of being part of the singalong, or she can be the one who starts up the Sweet Caroline moment. She can wear mascara on the start line—for herself, not for anyone else.
We believe that every girl and woman contains multitudes, and every girl and woman can tap into her inner athlete, on and off the playing field.
Why do we need Strong Girl Publishing?
Girls drop out of sport for many reasons. This leads to lowered self-esteem along with health problems that can stem from inactivity.
Last year, 57% of American youth ages 3-17 rode a bicycle. From ages 3-9, boys and girls ride at same rate, but at 10, there’s a significant drop off for girls. By the age of 14, girls drop out of sports at 2x the boys’ rate.
7 in 10 girls who quit sports during puberty said they didn’t feel like they belonged in sports, according to the survey of more than 1,000 girls ages 16 to 24.
Studies have shown that girls will embrace more traditionally “boy” activities when presented with images that show other girls engaging in them.
That’s where Strong Girl Publishing comes in: Girls deserve to see themselves in books about sport. They need to see themselves in sport.
In publishing, there is a space in the market for smart books about girls in different facets of sport—both in terms of books where sport is the primary topic, and books where sport is simply a natural part of the narrative.
Traditional publishers still don’t see this space as one that is viable commercially.
We strongly disagree. And we’re going to prove it.
WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT THE BOOKS SO FAR
“This feel-good sports book all about girl power emphasizes strong friendship, not making assumptions, and putting yourself out there. Lindsay’s journey in finding her own style and doing things that scare her will inspire any young reader.” –Kristina Pino, Booklist
“I was stoked, yes, stoked to delve into Shred Girls, hoping it would be something I could recommend to or read to my daughter when she’s old enough. Now, I plan to do just that. Still, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the book to a young boy. Riding is riding. Struggling with learning who you are and making friends are universal.” -Matt Pioro, Canadian Cycling Magazine
Who are our authors?
Our mission is to create a space for young women athletes who are looking for a platform to share their voices. Young women who have great ideas for books, planners, and other creative endeavors but need help bringing these ideas into existence.
We believe that young women athletes are perfectly positioned to share authentic, real experiences—often through fiction!—in a way that an author who hasn’t been there simply cannot.
These young women are often working side jobs to keep their athletic dreams alive, or they’re fully focused on their athletic careers, and publishing their work will provide them with another revenue stream to essentially sponsor themselves. Despite being a tiny company, getting profits into author’s wallets is much more important to us than growing our bottom line. That’s why, compared to other publishing companies, we offer higher royalty rates to our authors because we know just how hard they work on and off the field and we want to help be a part of their success. As a longtime author herself, founder Molly Hurford is aware of how hard it is to make money writing books, and wanted to make sure that her authors are taken care of.
Who runs Strong Girl Publishing?
I’m glad you asked! Hi, I’m Molly Hurford. I’m a writer and podcaster in love with all things cycling, running, nutrition and movement-related. I’m a little obsessed with getting people—especially women—psyched on adventure and being outside. That’s why I created the Shred Girls, a middle grade fiction series and online community focused on getting girls excited about bikes. That has grown to my latest project, founding Strong Girl Publishing.
After years of being told by publishers that there weren’t enough readers to make publishing books on girls in sport viable, I got a little angry. I’ve seen firsthand the power of a book to change a young girl’s life. And as a former non-athlete who eventually developed a love of cycling and running (and turned out, was kinda good at them), I know from personal experience how important it is to see yourself in sport if you’re going to take part in it. Visibility matters, and I want to bring stories of girls crushing it in all sports to the world, so that young girls and young women can see themselves in athletics and getting outside.
In my years as an author and an athlete, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting a lot of young female athletes with stories of their own to tell, who wanted to write books but who didn’t have the resources and know how to self-publish, or the huge audience required to get traditionally published. I’m a firm believer in women supporting other women, and I saw the chance to help these young women by creating a ‘secret option C’—publishing with a small company devoted to supporting girls in sport by creating content by girls in sport. It’s a win-win-win! We publish books about girls in sport, young girls see themselves in our books, and young women athletes are able to share their stories with the world, and are hopefully (if you’re out there buying our books + merch!) making some money to help close that massive wage gap that exists between male and female athletes.
Of course, this isn’t my first and only foray into working in this industry. I’ve published nine books at this point. I run the Business of Fitness Podcast, focusing on bringing more women into the athletic industry. I created The Consummate Athlete podcast and website with my husband, cycling coach Peter Glassford. I regularly contribute to publications including Bicycling and Runner’s World. And in my spare time, I’m still ultra-running and racing on trails, riding bikes, or hiking with my mini-dachshund DW.