WARNING: This post contains dangerous weapons… copywriting books that will sharpen your copy for a lifetime… and if you’re committed, they will be the most valuable books ever on your path (read this if you don’t know what copywriting is)
Whether you’re a new copywriter or you’ve got significant carpal tunnel, these
books weapons will continue to sharpen and cut your copy teeth… forever
This list of 37 weapons are categorized into 3 buckets:
- Legendary (most are dead)
- Modern-day (most are alive)
- & Language (more about style)
Let’s dive in…
LEGENDARY: Modern-day copywriters swear by these books.. And rightly so. Some are easier to read than others. Some are more about advertising than actual copywriting. And some we could probably do without… <— that’s a joke. Read ALL of these. Twice. Thrice. 10 times. Ranked by my favorites:
- Scientific Advertising (Hopkins)
- Secrets of the Written Word (Sugarman)
- Breakthrough Advertising (Schwartz)
- Ogilvy on Advertising (Ogilvy)
- Tested Advertising Methods (Caples)
- A Technique for Producing Ideas (Young)
- Confessions of An Advertising Man (Ogilvy)
- My Life in Advertising (Hopkins)
- The Adweek Copywriting Handbook (Sugarman)
- Robert Collier Letter Book (Collier)
- How to write a Good Ad (Schwab)
- Reality in Advertising (Reeves)
- Cashvertising (Whitman)
MODERN: Some of these modern-day copywriter are not only alive… but still writing! Well these days most of ’em write daily newsletters that they charge for / host expensive masterminds … I’m a little envious haha! But these copywriters are paving the way for all of us (RIP Gary Halbert). Again… Ranked by my favorites.
- Great Leads: The 6 Easiest Ways to Start any Sales Message (Masterson & Forde)
- How to Make Maximum Money in Minimum Time (Halbert)
- NO B.S. Wealth Attraction for Entrepreneurs (Kennedy)
- Accelerated Guide to 6-figure Copywriting (AWAI. This is a course. But there is a 728pg book inside, written collectively by top-notch copywriters like Michael Masterson, Rebecca Matter, Katie Yeakle, John Forde, Clayton Makepeace, Paul Hollingshead, Bob Bly, Nick Osbourne, Jay White and more)
- The Boron Letters (Halbert)
- The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales. (Kennedy)
- Copy Logic! (Masteron & Palmer)
- The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step guide tow writing copy that sells (Bly)
- Getting Everything you Can Out of Everything You’ve Got (Abraham)
LANGUAGE: These are probably the most underrated books on the list (plus… an extra bonus)
- On Writing Well (Zinsser)
- Dreyer’s English (Dreyer)
- The Elements of Style (Strunk Jr.)
- Flesch-Kinkaid (not a book, but a great tool to teach you readability scores)
- This book will teach you how to write better (Neville Medhora; the only book on this ENTIRE list you can finish < 15min)
Whew… There you go. I know, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. I get it. But don’t be a victim of SOS – shiny object syndrome. Pick a few and get started. You got this.
Also, what books did I miss – Did I leave I out one of your favorites? Let me know in the comments.
Lastly, below are some related reads to help you become an all-around, better writer.
*RELATED READS* None of these are on copywriting. Learn storytelling, the art of writing itself, how to deal with rejection, tackle content marketing… and very importantly – how to get paid when you’re first starting out!
- Story (McKee)
- On Writing (King)
- Made to Stick (Heath)
- The War of Art (Pressfield)
- Everybody Writes (Handley)
- The Well-fed Writer (Bowerman)
- Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind (Reis)
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Cialdani)
- It’s Not how Good you Are, It’s how good you want to be (Arden)
- 22 Immutable Laws of Marking: Violate Them At your own… (Ries&Trout)
- Integrated Marketing Communications: Putting it Together and…… (Schultz)
As you scanned the titles, you may have noticed – it’s essential to read books on… persuasion, sales, marketing, mindset… and literally everything!
The best copywriters read, read and READ some more, but they also read books outside of copywriting… like fiction/non-fiction, magazines, blogs & train ads. Read what your prospects read. Reddit. Quora. Search facebook groups… EVERYTHING.
“Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds like compound interest”– Warren Buffet
Thanks Warren (the 3rd richest person with $8.7 trillion kinda knows what he’s talking about). For now, start with this list above. I recommend you start with the ‘greats’ aka the legendary guys. Remember, don’t get distracted by SOS. Order a few on Amazon, and just start reading.
Share the Love & Goodluck…
Finally, as you progress and meet other copywriters, ask what books they recommend. And in return, share the books that have impacted you the most. Share the knowledge and we all win. Get reading. And start writing some copy.
As always, like & follow this blog if you haven’t done so already, and please feel free to share the value to your friends and peers on social media.
Albert the copywriter
For copywriting services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit this site.
P.S. Each book is linked to the cheapest version on Amazon – to make sure you save the most money. While in college, I remember scouring the internet for… free pdfs. I’m sure you’ve done it too. Don’t worry we’re all guilty. But, you have another choice to help support authors who have poured their lives out in these books that want to genuinely help you on your journey. Invest in yourself.