You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in any career who doesn’t want to grow and expand their skill sets.
No matter what kind of job you are doing, improving your abilities and building better habits is key to long-term career success and meeting the goals you set for yourself.
Copywriting is no different. Copywriters of every skill set can always learn more and grow, so having the right sources of inspiration can go a long way in helping you achieve those growth goals.
The best copywriting books are a fantastic way for writers to learn more about their industry and discover new ways to improve their skill sets.
In this article, we’ll go over why having inspiration matters for copywriting and give you the 12 best copywriting books to get started with.
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As you probably know, copywriting is a form of content creation that focuses on creating copy that inspires action from readers.
Namely, copywriters will create advertising words and text that can encourage audiences to click, open, or learn more about a brand’s products and services.
If you want to be a good copywriter, you need to be able to write strong copy that is grammatically correct.
You also will need creative skills to transform information into interesting messages, interpersonal skills to work with other teams, and organizational skills to accomplish many tasks.
While some of those skills can develop naturally over time and with experience, there are other skills like understanding the psychology of buying behaviors and audiences that might not be as intuitive.
That’s why it might be a good idea for aspiring copywriters to try and find inspiration in the top copywriting books available.
1. Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
This book by Eugene Schwartz is one of the best staples you can read to understand the purpose of copywriting as advertising writing.
Though it is dense to read, it has a lot of very useful information about how you can create effective direct response advertising and encourage readers to say “yes” to the messages you give them.
Just be warned that the book is pricey and will likely take you some time to work through.
2. Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath
This book is written by brothers Dan Health and Chip Heath and details how powerful core messaging is in copywriting.
It introduces the principle of stickiness, which is the creation of a message that sticks in the minds of readers and creates ongoing power rather than being forgotten.
The writing style is memorable and is an easy read full of clear and compelling examples.
3. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman
Joseph Sugarman is considered one of the best copywriters in America and is a legend in the advertising industry.
He specialized in infomercials and direct marketing and helped get products like calculators, digital watches, and cordless phones to customers.
He also was the first person to accept credit card payments over the phone, which revolutionized direct marketing.
His book, although based on information from the 1970s, provides information about marketing triggers and writing tips that are still useful today.
4. The Copy Book by D&AD
This book by D&AD, a global creative company, has been a staple of the industry for years and has recently gone through an update to include modern examples.
It has many different examples of copywriting work and projects accomplished by major players in the industry.
This book focuses on persuasive writing skills that can apply to many different marketing formats and ideas that have stood the test of time.
5. The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert
If you want your copywriting book to have a bit of heart and story in it, then look no further than The Boron Letters.
The book is a compilation of letters sent by Gary Halbert to his son while he was in Boron prison.
The letters explain essential details about copywriting while giving some life lessons and explaining the thought process behind different marketing tactics.
It’s a unique read that many people enjoy engaging with time and time again.
6. The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly
This book by Robert W. Bly is another example of a standard book that covers a wide range of copywriting tactics and techniques that are foundational pillars of the copywriting industry.
It’s a great book if you are a beginner and want to learn more about how sales techniques play into copywriting.
It also has gone through updates to remain relevant in the digital world.
7. Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
Storytelling has become a popular word thrown around in writing and marketing circles, but at its core storytelling is an important structure that captures the attention of audiences.
Brain science and decision-making psychology are highly connected to emotional engagement and narrative flow, and this book by Lisa Cron helps to explain how to utilize these concepts successfully in copywriting.
8. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy is a master of copywriting and an industry giant.
His book on creating B2B advertising copy is highly regarded as one of the best copywriting books available.
In the book, he discusses how to write headlines for industries like travel, tourism, non-profit, and marketing.
His tactics have more than stood the test of time and go to show how important the basics of copywriting are even in the modern era.
9. Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples & Fred Hahn
John Caples created many different powerful taglines that propelled his career and launched businesses.
His book takes a look at some of the testing methods that need to go into headline formulas to get a better response from both audiences and executives.
He also provides examples of how his tactics have worked and gives advice for writing call-to-action copy and other forms of copywriting text.
10. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan
With a title inspired by a terrible advertising campaign from the 1970s, this book by Luke Sullivan tries to help new copywriters understand how to avoid the mistakes of the past and instead create great ideas that sell.
He gives a lot of important advice on how to create visual stories, collaborate with clients, and create new ideas.
His advice is powerful and helps you learn new ways to approach copywriting.
11. Words that Sell by Richard Bayan
Have you ever found yourself frantically Googling to find another word for “exciting”, “new”, or “best”?
If so, you’re not alone.
Trying to say the same thing in a new way is often a major struggle for copywriters, especially when you are working with short word counts or dull copy.
This book by Richard Bayan provides over 6,000 different words and phrases with alternatives for every word.
It can help jumpstart your creativity and help you find powerful word variations.
12. Finding the Right Message by Jennifer Havice
This book by Jennifer Havice is a great read if you need to learn more about customer research and how it plays into copywriting.
Full of advice on how to create copy that resonates with specific audiences and readers, this book helps you understand how to research your audience and then create the message they want to hear.
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Finding the best copywriting books to help you become a good copywriter might seem overwhelming at first.
However, the truth is that there are many different sources of inspiration that cover a wide range of copywriting topics, like writing skills, advertising, and habits that can help you be better at your job.
Copywriting is an important part of an overall content marketing strategy. Learning how to take new approaches to content marketing can help a brand become more connected to customers by providing the information they are looking for.
If you want to learn more, check out our interactive eBook on a diversified approach to content marketing.
There you’ll learn how to create personalized, engaging content that resonates with audiences.