Knowledge is power. 💪
As a copywriter, you can 10x your skills and become deadly-effective with the right resources.
One of the best ways to learn copywriting is by reading books on sales copy, content writing, marketing, etc.
That’s why I asked 17 experts what they think are the best copywriting books.
Here’s what they had to say. 👇
The Copywriters Handbook
Shayne Sherman, tech expert, and CEO of Techloris.
Being a founder of the company, I would strongly recommend The Copywriters Handbook by Robert Bly.
This venerable volume presents the basics of effective copywriting and insights into the copywriting industry–though admittedly, the latter has transformed dramatically in the last 10 years.
Solid info on headline writing and structure of various copy-based marketing tools.
David is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of inBeat Agency, a TikTok and Instagram influencer marketing agency used by top e-commerce brands and agencies.
Traditionally, Copywriting is one of the highest paying skills in the world today. It is not just a skill that can get you a job, it is a skill you can use yourself in your business.
One of my personal recommendations is for the book titled Breakthrough Advertising. This is arguably the greatest book on copywriting. It is written by a phenomenal copywriter known as Eugene Schwartz.
The book is an exhaustive examination of drafting a great ad. Schwartz outlined a copywriter as someone that takes a current desire and channels it into a particular product. His mentality is that you cannot sell to people who don’t want to buy.
Copywriters sometimes see themselves as magical prodigies that can sell to people who on their account are not in favour of buying. The main issue is that the more you try to sell to people who don’t want to buy, the more they don’t want to buy.
Breakthrough advertising crumbles down every perspective of copywriting and examines them in detail. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to be a very good copywriter. Trust me it’s worth a read.
On Writing Well
Carol Tompkins, Business Development Consultant at AccountsPortal.
The best book I have read to date on copywriting is ‘On Writing Well’ by William Zinsser.
Reading this book dutifully will give you insights on how to write clearly and effectively for every target audience.
You get to learn about common writing mistakes we all make, their impact and how to avoid them.
When you write better, you tend to be more compelling, which makes this book a key read for every copywriter, whether experienced or just starting out.
The Elements of Style
Kevin Miller is the founder and CEO of The Word Counter.
The best book on copywriting or writing of any sort is “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White.
This is the gold standard and is a great book for writers to use as a guide. It does a great job of spelling out grammar rules of the English language and gives good examples that illustrate each guideline.
Ryder Meehan is the Co-Founder of Upgrow.
Content Machine by Dan Norris is a must-read for anyone using content marketing.
Norris lays out an easy-to-follow (though still a lot of work to execute) plan to build a strong content engine that will deliver traffic and leads long-term.
He covers the basics of idea generation, good writing guidelines, and developing a content strategy then later goes into hiring and scaling a content team.
I particularly like that he offers linked downloads and frameworks in the book to follow along.
Blake Dan is the Founder of Grillsimply.com.
I’ve been an internet marketer for 3 years now, working mainly on eCommerce marketing & more recently blogs. A year ago I read “Copywriting Secrets” by Jim Edwards, a famous internet marketer notorious for doing things differently.
During the development of my own blog over the last year, I consistently find myself going back to his main points in Copywriting Secrets. He does mention a lot of what you might find in other copywriter books, such as connecting by emotion, or the language you use but what really stood out for me is how hard he hammered in:
1) That the most important part of your copy is the headline. Seems ordinary right? But,of course, it makes sense that’s why clickbait is all-powerful (to some degree!). This works well in the world of online marketing, but there is a fine balance between making the headline sound great, and also be a representation of what your piece is about.
2) You might have heard of the key drivers of persuasion when it comes to marketing, but Edwards put’s it so simply, and explains how easily you can tie in what your content is about to the reasons people would be motivated to move on your words. He explains that the reason people are going to believe you, and potentially go forward with what you are saying is to: make money, save money, save time, enhance the image, avoid effort, or out of fear. With this in mind while you write your copy you will naturally present more persuasive and encapturing content.
I found Copywriting Secrets a valuable resource that just kept things simple. Would recommend the read to anyone getting into copywriting.
Letting Go of The Words
Aaron Yoshitake is the Founder of PickaKit.com.
Ginny Redish’s “Letting Go of The Words“ suggests progressively showing more detailed copy, in what she calls bite/snack/meal.
When displaying something the user may be interested in, first show a “bite” (headline or phrase), then if they show interest, give them a “snack” (one- or two-sentence summary/overview), and only if they keep following the “scent” should you show the whole ”meal” (full paragraph or article).
We’ve found that following this tip helps our site convert users by leading them to places with more information while keeping our main pages cleaner and less cluttered by text-heavy snacks or meals.
Confessions of an Advertising Man
I am the Growth Marketer and Co-Founder of CocoSign.
David Ogilvy’s “Confessions of an Advertising Man” is a book written by the absolute best copywriter there has ever been. It provides main principles to follow while copywriting and how to engage your audience with simple words. A must-read for a copywriter.
Follows David Ogilvy’s journey as a chef to a marketer, and how the lessons he learned in his culinary career helped him in marketing as well.
The Boron Letters
Carla Diaz is the Co-Founder of Broadband Search.
My favourite copywriting book is “The Boron Letters” by Gary Halbert.
It’s pretty much a series of letters written by Gary, for his son, which he wrote from prison.
The book is filled with pretty much everything you need to know about copywriting as well as some important life lessons (which he of course also applies to copywriting).
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book, and each time I come out having learnt something new.
The perspective Gary takes on different situations is just incredible and it can really help you to improve the way you think when it comes to copywriting.
Francesca Nicasio is the Content Marketer at Payment Depot.
If I could only recommend one book about copywriting, it would be “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley.
The advice she presents is top-shelf and the way she presents it is friendly and conversational with plenty of stories and examples to illustrate the points she makes.
You could get this same information from many other sources but the real strength of the book is how it’s written. It doesn’t read like a dry, technical, textbook.
Ann’s love of writing comes through loud and clear and serves to spark the same passion in those who read this book.
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook
Josefin Björklund is the CEO of Topp Casino Bonus.
“The Adweek Copywriting Handbook” is written by Joseph Sugarman who is one of the most renowned copywriters in America. He provides proven guidelines and expert advice on what it takes to register a copy that will entice, motivate, and move customers to buy.
The book will walk you step by step through the entire copywriting process from preparing to researching products and market to writing down ideas on paper and polishing them to a brilliant sheen. This book will help you with all the tools and tactics to write the same kind of compelling selling copy that has brought fame and fortune.
For any writer who wants to break into the advertising business, or want to get better at what they do, this is the ultimate resource. It covers all real examples of high-quality copy for various media, with a practical and authoritative guide. And will tell you everything you need to know to write an excellent copy.
Writing is Designing
Hannah Laird is a copywriter at Edge of The Web.
“Writing is Designing” is probably the best copywriting book you can read right now, as it takes you through the fundamentals of content design and UX writing.
Content design is the next stage in the evolution of copywriting, and this book helps you make that leap.
In today’s market, to be a successful copywriter requires so much more than the ability to spot a grammatical error and to turn a nice phrase. It’s also a lot more than writing powerful headlines and doing keyword research.
To be a successful copywriter today, you need to understand content as a UX and design discipline too, and how thinking about content at the start of a project will shape how that project develops, through UX, design and development.
How to Write Seductive Web Copy
Sharon Van Donkelaar is the Chief Marketing Officer of Expandi.
A good writer has to start by being a good reader, and that’s why every copywriter should always be looking for new sources of information regarding their field of work to stay informed and up to date.
It goes without saying that books are the most important source of information, not only for copywriters but for almost every profession out there. So with that being said, I’d like to share what I think is one of the best copywriting books you could have in your collection: “How to Write Seductive Web Copy by Henneke Duistermaat.”
A not-so-long and easy-to-read book written by someone who led the marketing department of enterprises like Philips Electronics and Saint-Gobain, “How to write seductive web copy” is probably the best up-to-date and practical copywriting book you could get nowadays, especially if you are a beginner in the field.
The book is full of actionable info and works as a step by step guide to help you engage readers to buy your product/service. All in all, a very affordable book that will lead you to better results once you start implementing some of the recommendations that you find in it.
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer
Anzhela Vonarkh, Content Manager and Copywriter at TheWordPoint.
The book contains 50 techniques that will help you make the text sharper, more capacious, and catchy. The author examines each technique, using and citing specific examples, mainly from newspapers, to show how professionals use it correctly and how the article benefits from it.
The book is written with humour, which also makes it enjoyable to read. It is interesting that when analyzing this or that technique, the author uses the same technique when communicating with the reader.
Clark’s tips will tell you where to find inspiration, how to best formulate the main idea of any article, arrange words for readability, and other important things for any writer. Definitely recommend this book for copywriters, journalists, editors, and everyone who works with content.
Persuasive Copywriting: Cut Through the Noise and Communicate With Impact
Darina is a copywriter, SEO specialist, and a short story writer. Currently, she is a blogger and a content manager for extensionranking.com.
This book will transform any junior copywriter into a master of the art. The author walks us through the process of writing copy that actually sells and provides us with techniques to use every day and start influencing our audience.
You will get deeper into the art of storytelling and learn how to make a difference in any marketing campaign. This is every copywriter’s Handbook – a must-read guide into the world of advertising.
The Ultimate Sales Letter By Dan Kennedy
Rahul Gulati, Founder of DevignTech.
I’d recommend The Ultimate Sales Letter By Dan Kennedy. Here are the top reasons why all new/experienced copywriters must read that.
First, effective copywriting is a mechanical process, not an art. You can learn the tricks by testing out sales letters.
Second, do not divert your prospect’s attention from the main goal. If it is to book a meeting or sell an EBook, show them the benefits and features in the order of importance. Keep it crisp and hit the mind hard.
Lastly, get straight into the offer and admit that your product or service is not ideal for “whom”. Your objective is to kick out people who are not the right fit and you should be honest with that. If you have drawbacks to your offer, do put that upfront. Being genuine leads to high credibility.
Influence by Robert Cialdini
Todd Ramlin, Manager of Cable Compare.
“Influence” by Robert B. Cialdini is a must-read for copywriters and anyone else in marketing.
In the book, he presents the universal principles of influence and how skilled persuaders use them.
The principals are reciprocation, commitment/consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Although the book isn’t specifically about copywriting, the principles presented are certainly applicable to writing copy.
My copywriting book recommendations
I’ve read almost all of the above books but also have some other recommendations to share with you.
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan
This is a classic copywriting book by Luke Sullivan on creating effective advertisements.
It teaches you everything from building successful advertising campaigns to brand storytelling and being creative.
So, it’s not just a book on copywriting but all of the other elements that go into successful ads.
These elements are crucial to know as a writer.
Some focus too much on the writing side and forget that storytelling, media, and visuals play a massive role too.
Luke spent decades cultivating winning campaigns for brands like Miller Lite and Time Magazine. You’re learning from the best.
The book itself is very practical with strategies and examples of good and bad advertising to learn from.
Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
If you read enough about copywriting, you’ll come across a funny pattern…
Most of the best books on copywriting are old. Very old.
They’re from decades ago and some before I was born. 😂
John Caples’ Tested Advertising Strategies is one of those books.
The title is very literal. The book contains strategies and theory that the advertising legend himself tested to be effective.
If you work in direct response or deal with similar types of copy, this book needs to be on your shelf.
Ca$hvertising by Drew Eric Whitman
Awesome title, right?
This book was written by the consultant Drew Whitman and remains as one of the highest rated books on copywriting and advertising.
It dives deep in consumer psychology, behavior, and scientific principles that help you sell.
I especially enjoyed the section on developing a unique value proposition. Whiteman believe it’s one of the most important parts of an ad.
You’ll also learn about pushing prospects buttons, developing a better mindset, saving money on ads, headline writing, and more.
Wired For Story by Lisa Cron
I recently had a guest on my podcast who blew my mind.
Suzy Dickstein, a storytelling and branding coach, explained to me how powerful and important stories are.
After all, they are how we’ve communicated for centuries or more.
That’s why I have to suggest this book on copywriting and stories called Wired For Story by Lisa Cron.
Sure, some people are just amazing storytellers straight out of the womb.
Other people, like me, have to learn it as a skill.
Stories grab attention more than anything else, create emotional connections, and develop deep bonds.
This book details the neuroscience behind storytelling and how the brain experiences them.
Most importantly, it teaches you how to apply this science to your own stories and transform your copywriting forever.
Wrapping up the best copywriting books
Reading is one of the best ways to master copywriting and level up your skills.
I like reading everyday and can honestly say that books will teach you 80% of everything needed to know about copy.
The remainder is rolling up your sleeves and actually writing.
Take notes. Study the best. Then, makes sure that you’re putting it into practice every day to become better.
If you want to learn more about copywriting, check out my free courses or reach out to me if you need to hire a copywriter.