If you’re new to copywriting, the chances are you’ve got a reading list as long as your arm to get through. But even if you’ve been copywriting professionally for years, there’s always another one to add to the list. Following on from my blog, 7 Of The Best Books For Freelancers, I’ve now curated this new one: 8 Of The Best Books For Copywriters.
So whether you’re a freelancer or an in-house writer, here’s my pick of the best books for copywriters.
Having clamoured to get my hands on as many copywriting books as I can over my six years as a freelancer (and several before that), it’s fair to say there’s plenty out there. While some are good, some great, and some… well, not all that, to be honest, there are those that contain actual gold and fully deserve a place on your shelf or your desk.
But the best of these have been written by experienced, and probably somewhat weary, copywriters that have spent years at the coal face of copywriting, all giving their advice to help you (and me) be a better copywriter. These are the ones I’ve included here – the ones I consider among the best books for copywriters, and which I highly recommend buying. I’ve also added each author’s Twitter handle so you can follow them and tell them how much you love their books.
I’ve added links to buy from Amazon, but I’ve also added a link to Hive so you can support a much more ethical and tax-paying company. Spoiler: although Hive’s books are often cheaper with free delivery, they can often go out of stock.
While some of the books listed are a few years old now, the advice they contain is evergreen.
So let’s dive in.
The Best Books For Copywriters
The Art of The Click | Glenn Fisher | @allgoodcopy
Glenn knows long copy inside and out. But he also knows short copy too. In The Art Of The Click, he shares tips, tactics, and techniques from his 10+ years as a direct-response copywriter, to use its fundamental principles and help craft your words, persuade people, and help make more sales, whatever you’re writing. From the back cover: “You’ll soon be wondering how you made a sale without it.”
Copywriting Made Simple | Tom Albrighton | @TomCopy
This is a great pick for anyone new to copywriting. But it’s so packed with good stuff that even senior copywriters will find it essential. Divided into the three key parts: planning, writing, and improving your copy with actionable tips, the book packs a lot in. But it’s written so well it never feels overwhelming – or boring. From the back cover: “This easy-to-read guide will teach you all the essentials of copywriting.”
How To Write Better Copy | Steve Harrison | @HarrisoSteve
Steve Harrison is an actual copywriting legend – what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. Filled with examples and experience, Steve tells you how to write everything from your brief to your headline and your body copy, then your second and third drafts. You get to learn from a master at work. From the back cover: “A step-by-step guide to writing copy that gets noticed, engaged with, and acted upon.”
A Self-Help Guide For Copywriters | Dan Nelken | @DanNelken
Self-doubt. We all have it. Sometimes more often than not. And Dan’s written a book about it. But while the title is ‘A Self-Help Guide…’, it’s actually more of a guide to help overcome those creative blocks, specifically when writing headlines. This will help you make them inviting, engaging, and effective, whatever you’re writing. Essential reading in only 150 pages. From the back cover: “Whether you’re an aspiring or an expiring copywriter, this book will help you become a more efficient and confident creative.”
Buy the book >>> Amazon
Copywriting Is… | Andrew Boulton | @Boultini
Less of a ‘how to…’ and more of a lesson in the realities of what copywriting really is. As someone who does and teaches copywriting, Andrew gives us his “thoughts, feelings, fears, failures, frustrations, and half-baked solutions”, as well as some sound advice and insights. Very dry. Very funny. From the back cover: “Copywriting is easy. Copywriting is hard. It’s frustrating, rewarding, draining, thrilling and, in almost every way, a lot of fun.”
Several Short Sentences About Writing | Verlyn Klinkenborg | @VerlynKlinkenborg
The title says everything you need to know. Klinkenborg tells you how to, basically, forget what you’ve learned about writing. This is a deep read, not so much in length, but in its thought-provoking nature. It gets you to think about all the sentence structures, clichés, and weasel words you’ve ever used and helps you understand how to make your writing flow. From the back cover: “An indispensable and distinctive book that will help anyone who wants to write, write better.”
Buy it from >>> Amazon
Strong Language | Chris West | @VerbID
Books on creating a brand tone of voice are pretty thin on the ground, which is weird for something so important. In under 300 pages, Chris tells you what to do and how to do it. From how to create actionable tone of voice guidelines to using your brand voice for different situations, and what to write it to make it distinctively you (or your client). From the back cover: “This will guide you to the breakthrough voice you need to outsmart and outperform your competitors.”
The Copy Book | Various
Updated for the umpteenth time, this book features the créme de la créme of advertising copy from across the decades. Featuring over 50 essays from some of the biggest names in advertising and copywriting, past and present, inside these pages, you’ll read and see some of the finest examples of ad copy that will inspire you and make you sick with envy in equal measure. But they’ll help you become a better copywriter. Simply essential reading.
Your ‘best books for copywriters’ bonus book…
The Little Book Of Confusables | Sarah Townsend | @STEcopywriting
Once you’ve read this list of the best books for copywriters, your next step is to actually do some writing. But however new or experienced you are, there will always (always!) be words that will confuse you. Those tricky words that, despite having only one letter different, can have completely different meanings. Or just words you can’t ever seem to spell correctly. Step up, The Little Book Of Confusables. With over 600 commonly confused words, this little tome will give you all the spelling and usage tips you need to avoid those…embarrassing… mistakes in your copy. A permanent desk buddy for every copywriter.
Buy it from >>> Amazon
This list will certainly see you right if you are just starting as a freelance copywriter. At least until something new comes out.
But for other book recommendations on how to get started as a freelancer and do it right, read my other post, 7 Of The Best Books For Freelancers, together with How To Start Your Freelancing Career With No Experience. Both should prove as indispensable as this reading list.
Comment below or let me know if you have any other books you think should make this list, but I hope it helps in the meantime.