Okay so you’re considering getting into this whole copywriting business… this is where you should start.
One of the questions I get asked by a lot of beginners is “what books should I read to learn how to copywrite?” Below are the 5 best copywriting books that helped me launch my freelance copywriting business back in 2011.
Now this list is not the latest and greatest, nor is it exhaustive. There are so many incredible resources out there for those looking to learn how to do online marketing, copywriting and branding, but these books are my copywriting bibles and I have referred to them again, and again, and again since starting my business back.
Now you might be surprised to discover that most of these books have actually very little to do with the formulaic process of copywriting. Most are about psychology and that is because deeply understanding what makes us, as humans tick, or click, is absolutely fundamental to becoming a good copywriter.
All the steps, how-to’s, tips and formulas you can get right here or on my YouTube channel and, let’s be honest, that’s way more fun than reading a book anyway. So if you’re considering starting a copywriting business or if you want to learn how to scale your existing business though copywriting, make sure to subscribe for a ton more videos coming your way. But for now…
Here are the 5 books that you should read immediately…
Influence by Robert Cialdini
This is actually the very first book that I read when I got into internet marketing back in 2008 during my time working at Mindvalley. I refer to it more than any other marketing book out there. In fact he has a sequel out now called “Presuasion” and I highly recommend you get a copy of that too.
In this book Cialdini shares the 6 shortcuts that guide human behaviour, scarcity, authority, consistency, likeability, consensus or social proof, and reciprocity. I have those 6 shortcuts written out in a document and I refer to it after every piece of sales copy I write to make sure that it includes all of these shortcuts as a checklist. This book is amazing and should be the very first book that you get your hands on.
Wizard of Ads by Roy H. Williams
The next book that I want to recommend is called the Wizard of Ads, Turning Words Into Magic and Dreamers Into Millionaires. This book is written by advertising legend Roy H. Williams. If you’ve never heard of this guy, you will because he is truly a powerhouse in the advertising world and is the guy behind a lot of wildly successful advertising campaigns. I first met Roy while I was down at his campus outside of Austin, Texas. It is called the Wizards Academy. It’s like the Hogwarts of the marketing world. This place is absolutely incredible, he hosts private events for marketers and entrepreneurs and teaches many weekend workshops that you can sign up for. So, if you’re lucky enough to score a seat at one, I highly recommend you do. He also has a podcast that is such a hidden gem. Like the book, it’s called Wizard of Ads and Roy releases a 5-10 minute episode every Monday morning. It’s unsuspecting. There’s literally no album artwork (just the default grey podcast symbol), but every single episode is pure gold. If I’m writing a sales page and I’m really scrounging my brain for a hook, I’ll listen to 2-3 of his episodes and it just gets my creative gears turning. So, I highly recommend you listen to that podcast, and read this book. It reveals the 7 Universal Laws of Advertising and really dives deep into human behaviour and what makes people act. Get your hands on this.
Breakthrough by Eugene Schwartz
The 3rd book I want to recommend is Eugene Schwarts’s Breakthrough Advertising. This book is a copywriting classic and probably one of the most profitable books on copywriting and marketing ever written. I actually don’t have a hard copy of it because they are extremely rare to come by. I was just looking on Amazon and saw a hard copy of it for sale for over $400 dollars. It’s a textbook so it’s a heavy one to dive into but at the very least go grab yourself a digital copy and skim through it and read the sections that really stand out to you. What really stood out for me in this book is the theory of product evolution and market saturation. I saw some digital copies I think on Amazon for around $20 so you should be able to get your hands on it fairly easily.
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Again, this book is one of the first books I read back when I got into internet marketing and copywriting, and yes, again, it reveals the hidden forces that guide human decisions. It’s all psychology and it’s brilliant. Dan references a ton of cool studies and statistics on why people act the way they act, and why people buy the way they buy. One concept that really stood out for me in the book is the concept of decoy pricing. It has now become a staple in almost all of my sales letters or offers that I create. So definitely get your hands on it.
Save The Cat by Blake Snyder
Lastly, the 5th book I want to recommend is called Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. It is titled “the last book on screenplay writing you’ll ever have to read”. My good friend, marketing legend and amazing copywriter, Perry Belcher, recommended this book to me and the rest of the members of my Flight Club Mastermind. Yup, you already guessed it, it’s actually not about copywriting, it is about screenplay writing. Shhhhh. I’ll tell you a little secret… a good copywriter is a great story teller. So this lateral wisdom of screenplay writing to copywriting is insanely valuable.
The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene
Great Leads by Michael Masterson & John Forde
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Copy Logic by Mike Palmer & Michael Masterson
Pre-Suasion by Robert B. Cialdini
Watch This Instead
Okay, so there you have it. Those are my top 5 books that you should read immediately if you want to learn how to become a copywriter. Now, I want to hear from you, do you have a favorite marketing or copywriting book? Comment below.
Ciao for now!