Looking for the best copywriting books? This list is an excellent starting place and the perfect blend of classics and contemporary. Get your head in a book!
In the digital age, where words rule supreme, mastering the art of copywriting is your ticket to success. It’s like magic when a simple arrangement of words can ignite desires, persuade sceptics, and drive sales like there’s no tomorrow. Imagine crafting headlines that stop people in their tracks, messages that tug at heartstrings, and a call to action that seals the deal. That’s the power of copywriting, my friends, and it’s yours for the taking.
Copywriting is a game-changer — the difference between boring, forgettable text and content that makes people sit up, take notice, and reach for their wallets. It’s the secret sauce behind successful marketing campaigns, the driving force behind viral social media posts, and the key to building a brand that stands out in the digital noise.
But what’s in it for you? Freelance copywriting is also the key to designing a life you adore, setting your own schedule, earning fantastic money, working with clients you love, working from anywhere in the world, and taking control of your destiny. Woo! Pretty impressive, right?
Feeling the itch to dive headfirst into the world of copywriting and unleash your inner wordsmith? Your journey starts here. To truly excel in this craft, you need to immerse yourself in the art of persuasive writing, and the best way to do that is by delving into the best copywriting books available. These literary gems will be your trusty companions as you explore the art of transforming words into irresistible spells. Grab your notepad, and let’s go.
1. “Ogilvy on Advertising” by David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy is an advertising icon. You may be thinking, surely a book written nearly 40 years ago cannot remain relevant today, but it is. Very much so.
This book is a timeless classic in the world of advertising and copywriting. Known for his elegant and persuasive writing style, Ogilvy provides insights into creating effective advertisements that stand the test of time.
He imparts invaluable knowledge with anecdotes and real campaigns from his illustrious career. Reading this book feels like receiving personal advice from the father of modern advertising himself. Ogilvy’s wit and wisdom are sprinkled throughout, making it not just an educational read but an enjoyable one.
If you want to understand the foundations of persuasive writing, this book is your Rosetta Stone.
2. “The Copywriter’s Handbook” by Robert Bly
Bly’s masterpiece is a copywriting bootcamp between two covers. It’s like chatting with the Gandalf of copywriting – wise, approachable, and packed with spells, well, copywriting techniques that’ll enchant your words.
The book is a treasure trove of examples, tips, and strategies that turn you from a copywriting padawan to a Jedi wordsmith by making complex concepts feel accessible. It’s straightforward, witty, and doesn’t waste your time with fluff.
Bly’s book is your secret weapon for crafting copy that captivates and converts.
3. “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads” by Luke Sullivan
Luke Sullivan is a renowned advertising pro with a wealth of insider insights.
Sullivan’s book is not your typical copywriting guide; it’s an entertaining journey behind the scenes of the advertising world. With wit and wisdom, Sullivan reveals the art of crafting memorable advertisements.
His anecdotes and real-life examples make learning the ropes of copywriting an enjoyable ride. This book is like your backstage pass to advertising creativity, teaching you how to grab attention and leave an indelible mark on your audience.
Sullivan’s no-BS approach and humor make this guide an unforgettable read.
4. “The Adweek Copywriting Handbook” by Joseph Sugarman
Direct marketing legend Joseph Sugarman shares his secrets in this goldmine for copywriters seeking to master the art of persuasion.
In what’s one of the best copywriting books out there, Sugarman dives deep into the psychology of selling and provides actionable tips backed by real-world success stories. His engaging writing style keeps you hooked, and his insights into consumer behavior are pure gold.
Reading this book feels like sitting down with a mentor and sharing their most valuable secrets. It’s no wonder that Sugarman is considered a copywriting guru, and his book is a testament to his brilliance.
5. “Breakthrough Advertising” by Eugene M. Schwartz
Eugene M. Schwartz is a copywriting pioneer who left a lasting legacy in this book.
“Breakthrough Advertising” is a masterpiece that delves into the psychology of consumer behavior. Schwartz’s writing is profound and thought-provoking, making it a must-read for those looking to unlock the secrets of persuasive writing.
His exploration of the “Five Levels of Awareness” and the “Stage of Awareness” is groundbreaking and continues influencing copywriters today.
If you’re serious about becoming a copywriting maestro, this book is your ticket to understanding the art and science behind it.
6. “The Elements of Copywriting: The Essential Guide to Creating Copy That Gets the Results You Want” by Gary Blake & Robert W. Bly
Blake and Bly’s collaboration is a masterclass in copywriting essentials. They serve up a feast of practical tips, templates, and techniques that even seasoned writers will find mouthwatering. It’s like a culinary showdown between two Michelin-star chefs, offering you the finest ingredients for creating irresistible copy.
This book sets itself apart with its comprehensive approach, covering everything from crafting compelling headlines to compelling calls to action. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, this book will make your copy sizzle.
7. “Scientific Advertising” by Claude C. Hopkins
Claude C. Hopkins, a trailblazer in direct marketing, is the brain behind this masterpiece.
“Scientific Advertising” is the OG of copywriting books, and Hopkins is the OG of advertising. And for this reason, it’s one of my faves.
This book is like a time machine that takes you back to the golden era of advertising. Hopkins was the architect of groundbreaking ad campaigns, and his book is a blueprint for crafting irresistible copy that stands the test of time.
What sets it apart? The scientific approach. Hopkins emphasizes testing and measuring, making this book a must-read for data-driven copywriters.
8. “Confessions of an Advertising Man” by David Ogilvy
Back once again for the renegade master! Another Ogilvy classic, “Confessions of an Advertising Man,” is like spending time with a charming raconteur who spills the beans on the advertising industry’s inner workings.
Once again, Ogilvy’s wit and wisdom are the stars here that make this book special. He shares his secrets, successes, and philosophies that have become the foundation of modern advertising.
So sit back, grab a drink, and enjoy some good reading with the most charismatic figure in advertising history, soaking up insights that will make your copy shine.
9. “The Boron Letters” by Gary C. Halbert
“The Boron Letters” is like having a personal mentor in your mailbox. Halbert’s approach is refreshingly candid, and his letters to his son, Bond, are filled with copywriting gems.
This book has a wonderful conversational style. It feels like getting advice from a wise uncle who’s seen it all. Halbert’s real-world anecdotes and storytelling prowess make this book a standout in the world of copywriting literature.
10. “Cashvertising” by Drew Eric Whitman
“Cashvertising” is a treasure map to the hidden vault of consumer psychology. Whitman dives deep into the triggers that make people buy and the words that make them reach for their wallets.
What sets it apart? The focus on psychology. Whitman unpacks the secrets of the human mind, making this book a must-read for those who want to master the art of persuasion. Reading it is like having a psychological advantage over your competition, and who doesn’t want that?
11. “Words that Sell” by Richard Bayan
“Words that Sell” provides a linguistic toolbox and an impressive volume of words and phrases designed to spice up your copy. It’s like a thesaurus on steroids, packed with creative language to make your writing pop.
Bayan’s dedication to equipping you with the perfect words for any situation makes this book an absolute gem for copywriters of all levels. With it by your side, you’ll never struggle for the right words again.
12. “The Ultimate Sales Letter” by Dan S. Kennedy
Think of “The Ultimate Sales Letter” as your personal copywriting coach for writing persuasive letters that convert.
Kennedy’s book sets itself apart with its laser focus on crafting sales letters that grab attention and drive action. A sales letter is an enticing written communication that businesses use to promote a product, service, or offer to potential customers and ultimately convince them to take a specific action, such as purchasing, requesting more information, or signing up for a newsletter.
Sales letters play a pivotal role in direct response marketing, and this book takes you by the hand, revealing the precise art of crafting them. Plus, Kennedy serves up templates and formulas that turn creating effective sales letters into a walk in the park. Even if you’re a rookie, you’ll slay the sales game in no time.
13. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini
Robert B. Cialdini is a psychology and marketing guru. In “Influence,” he deep-dives the human psyche and how it responds to persuasive techniques.
Cialdini explores the psychology behind why people say “yes” and helps you understand the triggers that make people take action.
What makes it unique is its in-depth research and scientific approach. Cialdini’s book is like a laboratory where he dissects the art of persuasion, making it essential reading for copywriters who want to truly understand the power of their words.
Level up with the best copywriting books
These are just a handful of the best copywriting books out there — the papery tip of the iceberg. If nothing tickles your fancy, there are tons more to choose from. If you want some ideas, leave a comment, and I’ll help.
Just remember that by reading a few pages each day and practicing, you’ll be astounded by the wealth of knowledge you amass in the blink of an eye. Choose one singular, iddy-biddy book and start there. Start small, build your expertise, practice, and perfect.
I promise you, consistency will lead you to new heights. With every word you write, you’ll gain more confidence. Dream clients will start knocking at your virtual door, and those paychecks? Oh, they’ll skyrocket. These books could be your launchpad to a copywriting empire. It’s time to dazzle!
Oh, and if you’ve written copy that you’d like reviewing, come on over to the Easy Freelance Writing Inner Circle, and we can take a look! Will I see you there?