In her book entitled Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence, Lisa Cron wrote: “If I ask you to think about something, you can decide not to. But if I make you feel something? Now I have your attention.” At first, copywriting used to be about stating the facts (even if that meant false advertising for “healthy” sodas). As markets evolved, so did the art of writing copy: advertising became more than throwing slogans left and right - it became about creating an identity. To do that, messages filled with ideas, moods and feelings were needed. And so were good copywriters… Truth be told, it’s very hard to learn copywriting as a standalone skill, without knowing a little bit of marketing, psychology and without developing the kind of vocabulary you only get by reading books. The following collection is addressed to a very specific group of people: the ones that want to learn how to create messages that sell and stick. Since copywriters are trained in the art of getting people to respond to written words, their skills are invaluable to any proper advertising campaign for any type of product or service. The copywriting books in this collection will be valuable to you if:
- You’ve always wanted to know what triggers our brains to respond to certain words.
- You’re curious which are the most powerful words in copywriting.
- You want to become a superstar in one of the three most popular freelance jobs in the world (the other two would be programming and design).
- You keep hearing of important words such as “persuasion”, “influence”, “neocortex”, but you aren’t very sure how they can make or break your business.
- About 95 more reasons which we won’t list here because this is not a long-form sales letter.
“I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.” ― Frank Lloyd Wright
Best Copywriting Books
Authors: Luke Sullivan, Edward Boches
Recommended by: Bogdana Butnar, Irina Nica
Irina Nica: This book taught me how to think when I write. It also taught me how to be the voice of a product (or a person) in writing and, ultimately, how to build my own voice.
Read it if: You’re thinking about starting something in the field of marketing or advertising (or are currently working in one of these).
CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone
Author: Drew Eric Whitman
Recommended by: Roger Dawson
Roger Dawson: Cashvertising is a virtual blueprint for persuading the consumer mind. It's fast, fun, and a must-read for businesses in all industries.
Read it if: You want to understand why the sales messages you see every day actually sell (or not).
Author: Andy Crestodina
Recommended by: Raluca Radu, Arnie Kuenn
Arnie Kuenn: Andy does it again, with an outstanding follow up to Content Chemistry. The lecture and lab approach is a must for anyone serious about creating and promoting genuine content to grow their business through web marketing. We have added several copies to our library.
Read it if: You want to learn about traffic conversion and how SEO can boost your audience members number.
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters
Author: Joseph Sugarman
Recommended by: Ola Olusoga, Cristian-Dragos Baciu
Cristian-Dragos Baciu: I'd just go with something that's a bit of a more light read, like Dan Kennedy's Ultimate Sales Letter, or Joe Sugarman's The Adweek Copywriting Handbook. Either one of these will give you a solid building block that you can then expand upon with the more advanced courses, like Breakthrough Advertising, or Clayton Makepeace's Ultimate Desktop Copycoach.
Read it if: You want to understand the principles of writing copy, but you also need a guide that explains the whole copywriting process: from research to the final draft.
Author: Robert W. Bly
Recommended by: David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy: I don't know a single copywriter whose work would not be improved by reading this book.
Read it if: You want a career in copywriting, but you need that “first book” that will get you started and you’re not yet sure which one it is. Trust us, it’s this one.
Authors: Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant
Recommended by: James Altucher, Kaci Lambe Kai
James Altucher: Sean Platt has a good book that just came out about writing many books. I recommend it. “Write. Publish. Repeat.” I think Sean has published over 50 books. I don’t know because he uses pseudonyms as well.
Kaci Lambe Kai: On the same flight, I read Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. They made it seem so easy to become an author and a creative. It's as easy as the title. Create a thing. Put it out into the world. Do it all over again. I got off that flight a changed human being. I knew I wanted to make my living as an independent creative in which I create works, release them, and obtain dollars to sustain myself on that creativity. In January, I'll publish my first book.
Read it if: You’re not looking for a book on copywriting per se, but you want to learn about writing in general. And who better to teach you than two authors who wrote 1.5 million words in a single year.
Writing Riches: Learn How to Boost Profits, Drive Sales and Master Your Financial Destiny With Results-Based Web Copy
Author: Ray Edwards
Recommended by: Ola Olusoga, Alex Mandossian
Alex Mandossian: Grab your mouse and get 3 copies. Get one copy for yourself. One for your favorite vendor. And one for someone who still doubts that online copy is the "DNA" to accelerate business growth.
Read it if: You’re looking for an easy-to-understand book on copywriting to maybe change a couple of words on your website and boost your conversion.
Authors: Gary C. Halbert, Bond Halbert
Recommended by: Nick Janetakis, Ola Olusoga and 1 other
Louis Grenier: If you want to learn more about copywriting, you need to read “Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit”. Also, “The Boron Letters” – Fantastic resource, absolutely amazing.
Read it if: You want timeless advice on how to create powerful messages.
Author: Ann Handley
Recommended by: Brian Clark, David Meerman Scott
Brian Clark: The alternate click-bait title of Ann’s great new book could have been 73 Ways to Improve Your Writing and Conquer the World! …and it would have been an understatement. We’re all publishers now, and the better writers connect, persuade, and win. Be one of them with this book.
Read it if: You’re interested in online communication and want to make sense of this content-driven world.
Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less
Author: Joe Pulizzi
Recommended by: Raluca Radu, Jonathan Mildenhall and 1 other
Jonathan Mildenhall: This is a brilliant canter through the rapid and ever changing world of content marketing.
David Meerman Scott: As Joe shows us in his wonderful Epic Content Marketing, you must unlearn interrupting people with your nonsense. Instead, publish the valuable content they want to consume and are eager to share.
Read it if: You want to learn the principles of epic content marketing from an author who basically lives and breathes it.
Authors: Chip Heath, Dan Heath
Recommended by: Raluca Radu, Ola Olusoga and 3 others
Cristian-Dragos Baciu: I highly recommend all the books written by the Heath brothers, especially Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive And Others Die. This one's a must-read for marketers. The reason I enjoyed their work so much is because they offer real-life stories and insights that makes it so much easier for the reader to imprint that information in his mind
Read it if: You need a marketing book that blends in some psychology knowledge to help you understand why some messages stick to your brain and others are completely ignored.
P.S. Drop us a line and tell us which copywriting book taught you how to best send your message to your target audience.