10 copywriting books to become a successful copywriter

Learning to write great copy that sells is every marketer’s goal. Read on to discover 10 books on copywriting you should read now.

1. Dan S. Kennedy – The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers. Boost your Sales.

Dan S. Kennedy is one of the world’s highest-paid copywriters. Internationally recognized as the ‘Millionaire Maker,’ Mr Kennedy has helped people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes and influenced well over 1-million independent business owners annually through his newsletters.

The Ultimate Sales Letter has clear and dynamic examples that will help you write the ultimate sales letter. It will help you target your customer base as quickly as possible and draw them in with Dan Kennedy’s creative and inspiring graphic enhancement ideas at their fingertips.

Some of the book’s highlights:

Tips for improving readability
How to use bullets, lists, numbering, underlining, bold-facing, size and font style
How to use the P.S. to their advantage

Always enter the conversation already occurring in the customer’s mind.
Dan S. Kennedy

2. Joseph Sugarman – The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters

In this practical guide, legendary copywriter and ad man Joe Sugarman provides proven guidelines and expert advice on what it takes to write copy that will entice, motivate, and move customers to buy.

Here are a few chapters that I believe will intrigue and draw your attention:

Copy as emotion
Selling the concept not the product
The psychological triggers

The prospect has basic emotional needs that your product will solve, regardless of how sophisticated or simple your product offering is. Examine those emotional needs.
Joseph Sugarman

3. John Carlton- Simple Success Secrets No One Told You About (The Business Pro’s Essential Toolkit)

Mr Carlton has been called “the most respected and ripped-off copywriting wizard alive”, because so many of his ads are still used as templates by other marketers. He almost single-handedly transformed the way print ads worked through sizzling long-copy ads.

Edgy copy that demands to be read. Demands it.
John Carlton

4. Eugene M. Schwartz – Breakthrough Advertising

Direct copywriter Eugene M. Schwarz wrote for the most successful direct marketers in the U.S., helping them sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of products across different industries.

His book, Breakthrough Advertising is a game-changer, an advanced marketing/business book that will reveal how to find the breakthrough headline that is right for your product.

The greatest mistake marketers make is trying to create demand.
Eugene Schwartz

5. Drayton Bird – Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing

Commonsense and Digital Marketing gives the marketer the tools, techniques and structures needed to produce effective and profitable marketing across the direct marketing spectrum, from simple letters to focused web-based campaigns.

For anyone involved in direct marketing, this book provides not just the structure for success but also an energizing insight into the techniques behind some of the world’s most successful direct marketing campaigns.

Drayton Bird has been writing copy for over 60 years. He worked side by side with David Ogilvy. He is also a big proponent of conversational copywriting.

In 2003, the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton Bird one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today’s marketing.

Here is a selection of book chapters you could find highly useful:

How to test and evaluate your results
Positioning and other mysteries explained
How to get started

Your brand image is primarily an emotional construct. Emotion is probably always more powerful in swaying people than reason, but people like to be able to rationalize their choices.

Drayton Bird

6. Doug Pray – Art & Copy: Inside Advertising’s Creative Revolution

Art & Copy is a powerful film about advertising and inspiration.

It reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time, people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture.

Their work grabbed the attention of millions and truly moved them. The social and cultural impact of their ads is brought to light in this dynamic exploration of art, commerce, and human emotion. Meet the authors of magic words like “Just Do It,” “I Love NY,” “Where’s the Beef?,” “Got Milk,” “Think Different”.

7. D & AD – The Copy Book: How some of the best advertising writers in the world write their advertising

The Copy Book features a work selection and essays by 53 leading professionals in the world, including copywriting superstars such as David Abbott, Lionel Hunt, Steve Hayden, Dan Wieden, Neil French, Mike Lescarbeau, Adrian Holmes, and Barbara Nokes.

The lessons to be learned on these pages will help you create clearer and more persuasive arguments, whether you are writing an inspiring speech, an engaging web banner or a persuasive letter. This is not simply a “must-have” book for people in advertising and marketing, it is also a “should-have” for anyone who needs to involve or influence people, by webpage, on paper, or in person.

8. Victor O. Schwab – How to Write a Good Advertisement

How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor O. Schwab is one of the all-time great books on copywriting. Mr Schwab is the mastermind behind the title for the international bestselling book How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie.

In his book, Mr Schwab explains the five fundamental elements of a successful ad:

Get attention
Show people an advantage
Prove it
Persuade people to grasp this advantage
Ask for action

Poor copy cannot overcome faults or gaps in dealer distribution; it cannot even cash in on the finest dealer setups. But good copy can, and does, surmount many dealer difficulties, making them secondary, and selling in spite of them.
Victor Schwab

9. Claude Hopkins – Scientific Advertising

In his book, ‘Scientific Advertising’, Claude Hopkins provides readers with valuable insights into consumer behaviour.

The aim was to explain the rules of advertising and what makes consumers buy so that advertising returns would become a certainty and not a guess. Copywriters are invited to learn how to use Mr Hopkins’ techniques to write adverts that sell with certainty.

Known as the father of modern advertising techniques, Mr Hopkins covers many important aspects of advertising including how advertising laws are established, mail order advertising, headlines, psychology, strategy, budgeting, and more advanced subjects like negative advertising and how to test an advertising campaign.

Don’t think of people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view.
Claude Hopkins

10. Robert Collier – The Robert Collier Letter Book

The Robert Collier Letter Book remains one of the most useful books on writing sales letters.

It earned Robert Collier the distinction of being one of the greatest marketing minds in history.

Robert Collier sales letters were successful because he wrote to his readers’ needs. As an expert in marketing, his sales savvy and writing expertise placed hundreds of millions of dollars in his clients’ pockets.

Tell a man something new and you have his attention. Give it a personal twist or show its relation to his business and you have his interest.
Robert Collier


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