Successful copywriters are not born, they are made.
Whatever your goal, get more clickthrough’s on your blog posts, more YouTube views, more opt-ins to your email list, Facebook advertising, email open and click-thru rates, the list is endless.
Great copy is required everywhere for success in any business.
I write about it all the time, copywriting hacks, free copywriting courses, the best copywriting course, I even made my middle name Miles "Student Of Copywriting" Beckler, that's how important copywriting is in my business.
You can even make writing great copy a skill that earns you crazy money!
My copy used to suck until I started reading and putting into practice the stuff I learned from these best-copywriting books for beginners and pros.
Turn your crappy copy into words that will make your momma proud after reading these timeless copywriting books.
Number one on the list is my favorite - and the MOST expensive - but totally worth it.
Grab these books and start flexing that copywriting muscle to level up everything that you do!
1. Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
This book isn’t just for advertising experts, copywriters, marketing folks…
It’s for business owners and anyone whose products have been collecting cobwebs in the dark.
It is by my computer at ALL times!
It is hands down the best copywriting book of all time!
If you want to increase sales - not just make a sale - this book is for you.
Eugene Schwartz stresses the importance of a headline and how you should really take the time to work on this part of your ad to grab the attention of your audience.
It’s one thing to hook them in…. It’s another to sustain that attention.
Breakthrough Advertising is the Ultimate Resource to Learn Copy
This book teaches you how to get to that point of making them stop and look and read up to the very end.
And yes, to click the buy / subscribe button, after all that reading they do with your copy.
Another thing you’ll learn from this book is the core of good copy that really speaks to your audience aside from one that’s just well-written.
Schwartz puts it as a one to one connection that you want to establish throughout your ad. The goal is to read and empathize with what your audience is feeling. As a copywriter, you’re kind of like a needs doctor, you have to diagnose what your audience needs and give it to them through your copy.
How Much of a Classic is this Book?
This book was first published in 1966 but don’t let the publication date deceive you…
It may sound old school but the content is even more applicable now than ever. With information overload on the rise and people getting constantly bombarded with hundreds and thousands of ads each day, you want your ad to stand out and really strike them to the core.
The heart of a good copy is to appeal to your target audience’s basic instincts and emotions, get them to quickly act on their impulses and that’s how you make massive sales.
These - and more - are copywriting skills you’ll master after reading and practicing the concepts this book preaches.
Definitely worth paying $$$ considering it’s written by the legendary copywriter that history has yet to duplicate and no marketing guru could ever top.
2. Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
This is a must-read for copywriting newbies, seasoned copywriters, or just about anyone with a growing interest in how to write great copy.
It must seem a little strange that this book came out even before the computer or the internet was born back in 1932 but what’s even more compelling is that the stuff it preaches is so incredibly relevant and highly applicable to this very date.
In the words of John Caples “It’s what you say that counts, not how you say it. A valid argument presented in blunt language will sway the reader more than a less valid argument beautifully presented.”
Boom. Just what every copywriter who’s been doing it wrong needs to hear. And how do you know what exactly you’re doing wrong? By testing. The importance of this is highlighted in the book showing you how and what to test.
Takeaways From This Book
Essentially, your sales copy is not intended as pure artistry or cleverness or literary. That’s what you want in a good novel.
The main purpose of sales copy is to sell and at the end of the day, a flawless, grammatically perfect, flowery ad doesn’t mean anything unless people buy your stuff.
Caples arms us with tried and true writing methods that actually work. No big words, no weird vocabulary, but rather just some good old simple language in your ad that people can understand and make them say heck yeah, this guy knows what I need!
Pro tip on this one… If you can find the 4th edition instead of the 5th edition it has been edited less and has more of Caples’ brilliance in it.
But, honestly… both are great!
3. How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab
Ads are really all about the headline for the first 2, 3 seconds.
It’s the thing that your audience sees right away and hooks them in before they decide to read the rest of your copy or go back to scrolling up their Facebook page.
And if your copy is compelling enough and answers their question “What’s in it for me?”, they will read on and take action.
So straight away, your headline needs to indicate the ultimate benefit your product offers.
Victor Schwab's Sweet Spot
Victor Schwab cuts the BS by teaching you how to make an effective headline that converts. Be prepared to get plenty of those Aha moments while reading this book because it’s loaded with legit pro advice and none of the ninja fakeness stuff populating the internet nowadays.
Other equally important topics this book includes are the human psychology (he goes deep into this), long vs. short copy, sizing your ad, 14 split tests and what these tell you about advertising, 100 effective headlines examples and why they work, details into researching and tons more!
4. The Secret of Selling Anything by Harry Browne
If you’re looking for a book that will reinforce all of the ‘cliches’ you’ve heard about sales… then I’m afraid that this one is going to be a heart-breaker!
Virtually anyone who has ever had anything to do with sales has probably been exposed to the “you can do it if you just believe you can” mindset.
But in this book, Harry Browne comes along and tells us that not only are some of these commonly-held beliefs straight up untrue… but that they can sometimes be a downright hindrance!
Challenging many automatic assumptions of what it takes to be a successful salesperson, The Secret of Selling Anything will have you rethinking everything you’ve ever believed about sales.
Purge False Sales Narratives From Your Life. They’re Not Helping You!
One of my favorite things about this book is that it lays out, in easy-to-understand terms, perfectly rational counter-arguments to nearly every sales cliche you’ve ever heard.
For example… it talks about how enthusiasm is not actually a virtue when it comes to sales.
It talks about how positive thinking is actually an unrealistic fallacy… and about how sales actually has very little to do with convincing anyone to buy anything.
I also really love how Harry Browne lays all of this out. The Secret of Selling Anything is a methodical, fundamental collection of principles that, when applied correctly, can revolutionize the way you think about selling.
Not only that, but the concepts apply perfectly to selling online as well. In fact, it is uncanny how applicable these concepts are to content, digital, and affiliate marketing!
If you’re ready to challenge all of your preconceived ideas about selling, and level-up your ability to sell without requiring you to waste your valuable time developing skills that are actually not going to do you any good, then it is a must read!
5. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman
Effective, converting copy is the life and blood of any business.
This is one of the best books in copywriting because it is pretty much a guideline with all the do’s and don’ts copywriters, marketers, and businesses need to know to pull the trigger to their audience and make sales.
It's A Guidebook
It’s a step by step guide that takes you to the entire process of crushing the copywriting game, so you can stop wasting your time making well-written bad copy.
This is another book written years ago, however it still makes this best books in copywriting list because of its overall depth on the subject. It's a big read at over 300 pages.
Why This Copywriting Handbook?
From the product and market research process to putting ideas down on a blank doc and getting it all dialed in, this book is the real deal as far as the best copywriting process goes.
Start and build a story and end with a sale… That’s what this copywriting book is all about.
6. The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
If you're looking to get an understanding of what elements are needed in your sales pages then this book is vital.
Dan Kennedy has put out great book after great book on direct marketing. The Ultimate Sales Letter is arguably at the top of his works.
Writing copy that sells is slightly different from writing copy to have someone opt in on your landing pages. The whole dynamic shfits when someone has to pull out there credit card.
Things Haven't Really Changed
The content you need to put on your actual sales pages hasn't changed much more than it used to be years ago. This is one of the time-honored best books that details how to write copy that sells.
All the books in the copywriting niche lean towards some specialty. For those writing sales pages this will be one of the must have copywriter books.
Takeaways From This Book
This is more of a small course on how to write a sales letter / sales page than it is a plain book. So, If you're looking for a cheap copywriter course then this book is a must. You can find it for less than 5 bucks on amazon used.
One of the best takeaways from this copywriting book is the massive number of quality examples. Not many books give you dozens of copies of successful sales letters. However Kennedy lays out plenty of real-life sales letters used to bring in lots of money.
7. Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy
This is a wonderful overview of the copywriting world. David Ogilvy gives his readers not just ultra specifics on how to write copy, but of bigger picture things as well.
He talks about:
- How to run an agency
- How to get clients
- TV commercials
- He even talks about how to get jobs in advertising!
While this book is NOT a big recommendation of mine for people who want to learn the art of copywriting, It IS a strong recommendation for those who have been in the copywriting world for a long time.
Books like these were written years ago, but still have ultra relevant and made to stick information.
What do you do when you're going up against a massive competitor with an endless marketing budget like Walmart or Amazon?
In the chapter, "Competing with Procter & Gamble" he discusses a few strategies on how to overcome these behemoth companies. This book is best suited for someone who needs a fresh look at the world of copywriting. It's sure to breathe live into your Facebook Ads or even landing pages.
Ogilvy on Advertising Takeaways
There are many good chapters in this book. However the chapter, "18 Miracles of Research" he gives sage advice on how to navigate your overall copywriting approach.
Specifically he talks about doing research on the "promise."
Every product or service has some type of promise built in to it... The buyer assumes that when they purchase your product it is in essence - promising to solve a problem they are having.
He suggests doing research and surveys to test different promises...
If you're selling toothpaste then are you telling customers:
- We promise you clean teethe
- We promise a dazzling smile
- We promise fresh breath
You won't know what type of promise your target market wants until you test things out.
8. Cashvertising by Drew Whitman
This is a unique approach to scientific advertising. If you like data-informed decisions then the writing in this book will open up your eyes.
Whitman provides TONS of marketing research distilled down into this easy-to-read 200 page book.
You'll discover all of the best copy writing principles made to stick your reader's eyeballs to your marketing copy. There is a loose science to the written word of copywriter and Whitman really delivers on this book.
He's taken data from years ago and compared it across the industry to give you a sense of what a few "best practices" might be.
No matter the content you produce be it, blogs, sales letters, or news paper ads - this marketing book will have helpful gems throughout.
I put this on the best of list because of versitile this book is. No matter how you write copy, you'll find a few brilliant marketing tips in this book.
There is a particular part of this book that goes into what Whitman calls the LF-8 - known as the "Life Force 8".
The takeaway here is that humans are really only motivated by 8 different things...
- Freedom from fear and pain
- Intimacy with others
- Comfortable living conditions
- To be superior or win
- Care and protect loved ones
- Social approval
The sooner you begin to understand just how big of a role psychology plays in the art of writing copy then the quicker all of these recommended books will make sense.
The magic behind this style of writing comes from crafting the ability to tap into the deeper wants and desires of human beings.
Deep down we all want something to change - on some level. When you can put your sales message in front of the right people and craft it in a way that speaks to that desire - you'll win.
9. The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert
These all started as a series of letters Gary wrote to his son throughout his life. But what’s amazing about this book is how rich in life lessons it is.
For Gary, success is in every aspect of a person’s life - personal and professional. And if you’re thriving in these two things, it will certainly give significant results to your marketing efforts.
The first part is all about routines, proper diet, regular exercise, and how to achieve wellness since these are all relevant to success.
Then, he touches on identifying a group of people he calls the “starving crowd” or folks who have a great demand and need for a product. Your goal is to capitalize on this need and position your product or service accordingly.
The Boron Letters Takeways
This book is rich in new and often ignored knowledge that copywriters, businesses, and marketing experts need to know to really kill it with their copy.
Other things he emphasizes in this book include the importance of a call to action in your ad, split testing, the AIDA model when conveying value to your audience, and a whole lot more.
Filled to the brim with marketing success and personal self-improvement tips, this book will change your life and your bank account. It’s that powerful.
The Best Copywriting Books Can Change Everything
Writing is just one part of the whole copywriting process.
Reading, learning from the pros, and split testing your copy are other parts of the process you need to nail down to get the results you want.
To get your copy dialed in and start making massive sales, you have to go straight to the right experts and weed out the fake marketing gurus telling you their way is the only way.
A Final Pro Tip
Here is tip that will ensure your success in writing copy...
It will take you many hours of work, but having a killer ad on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube can be the difference between a faltering business and an explosive one.
Remember the "Life Force 8" from above?
Think about the 8 ways you could craft your product or service to appeal to those 8 different core wants & needs we have as human beings... That's step 1.
Step 2 is to think about all the different writing formulas you can use. As you do your research you'll uncover that different experts have different "formulas" they like to use. Each of the following are general templates to help craft your sales message.
Here are a few:
Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS): Made popular by Dan Kennedy this presents the reader first with the problem they are facing. Then in the middle of the copy you agitate that problem even further to provoke emotion. Then at the height of emotion you position your product as the solution to that problem.
Attention Interest Desire Action (AIDA): Get the reader's attention with a killer headline. Then inspire their interest by challenging the norms of the topic. Nice build desire by enticing the emotions around the topic. Lastly tell them to take action and provide a clear way for them to take you up on your offer.
Attention Interest Description Persuasion Proof Close (AIDPPC): Made popular by Robert Collier this formula speaks for it self. The proof element of this writing method is what really makes it stand out.
There are many more out there...
Step 3 - it's time to write. If you have 8 motivations for the LF-8 and you have 3 formulas to follow then you'll create 24 ads.
If you have the LF-8 and 5 formulas you've discovered then you'll write 45 ads...
I know it's crazy, but this is what makes things successful.
And really how long would it take you? 3 days? A week?
What If i told you you only had to spend 1 week writing like crazy in order to find 1 or 2 ads that would explode your business?
Not only will you find a couple of killer ads, you will have learned a new skill set that you can rely on time and time again.
Again. I know it's a ton of work. But I'm guessing you didn't start a business because you were afraid of hard work.
Do more Research or Start Learning from Classics Today?
You can do more research on copywriting books to read but this top list is the place to start - and essentially all you need to know when you want to learn from legendary copywriting pros.
So read up, build and flex those copywriting muscles, and leverage your knowledge and skills to exponentially increase your sales!
Got some ideas, questions, insights to share?
Chat me up in the comments section and let me know what you think about these books if you’ve read some of them or you’ve got other books that have helped you write awesome copy.
I look forward to reading and responding to your comments soon!