You’re a prolific writer, blogger, and novelist.
You’re skilled in spinning evocative stories.
You’ve poured your heart and soul into your craft, and your work resonates with readers.
But when it comes to marketing, you hit a wall. You’ve got creativity to spare, but writing to sell makes you uncomfortable.
It feels like stepping into alien territory.
You’re not alone.
Many creators find themselves struggling to articulate their value, to connect with potential customers, to convert their passion into profitability.
And you have more questions than answers:
- How can you best communicate the value of your work?
- How can you entice your audience to invest their time and money into your offerings?
- How can you bridge the gap between creative artist and savvy marketer without losing your authentic voice?
Welcome to the world of copywriting, an art, science, and critical skill.
Copywriting will help you connect your creative products with the commercial marketplace.
But where do you start?
You’ve come to the right place.
With you in mind, the writer/artist, we put together a monster list—more than enough to get you up to speed in the world of copywriting.
With insights from industry giants, you’ll learn to blend your creativity with marketing best practices to position yourself for success in a noisy marketplace.
Your work deserves an audience of raving fans and buyers.
Ready to take the leap?
Let’s get started.
Read on to discover 19 Copywriting Classics for Writers and Artists.
Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
Schwartz’s book is a staple in the advertising industry. With its focus on mass desire, this book explains how great copy doesn’t create desire, but merely channels existing desires of consumers towards a product or service. It’s a critical lesson for copywriters: understand your market before you start writing.
Ca$hvertising: How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone by Drew Eric Whitman
Whitman’s book merges the fields of psychology and advertising to help copywriters create more persuasive and effective ads. It contains countless tips, tricks, and tactics for attracting attention, stimulating interest, and triggering action.
Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy
Ogilvy’s classic provides a candid look into the advertising world of the mid-20th century, sharing his experiences and wisdom. His lessons on crafting compelling copy and winning over clients are still applicable today.
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan
An essential resource for copywriters in the ad industry, Sullivan’s book explores the process of creating highly effective advertisements. Sullivan shares stories from his vast experience, and his humorous style makes this guide an engaging read. The book also covers digital advertising, making it relevant in today’s tech-driven marketplace.
How to Write a Good Advertisement: A Short Course in Copywriting by Victor O. Schwab
Schwab’s book is a succinct guide on how to construct an effective ad from scratch. He emphasizes the importance of headlines, the proper use of layouts, and leveraging consumer psychology. Schwab also provides numerous examples of successful ads for better comprehension.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
While it’s not a copywriting book per se, Zinsser’s guide teaches how to write clear, effective nonfiction. His principles can help copywriters make their writing more engaging and impactful.
Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage and Sell by Andy Maslen
Maslen’s book provides an in-depth look into the psychology of persuasion and how to apply it in writing. He shares techniques and tips for writing persuasive copy that engages readers and prompts them to take action.
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Although it’s more about marketing strategy, this book’s principles are crucial for copywriters. Understanding positioning helps writers to communicate a brand’s unique value proposition effectively. Ries and Trout provide clear, practical advice on how to position a brand in the mind of the consumer.
Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
An oldie but goodie, Hopkins’ book delves into the core principles of successful advertising. Emphasizing the importance of research, testing, and the efficient use of budget, Hopkins shares strategies that stand the test of time, despite the changing landscape of advertising.
Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples and Fred Hahn
Tested Advertising Methods provides a primer on scientifically testing the effectiveness of advertising, a principle still relevant today. With an emphasis on headline construction, the book guides copywriters to write copy that garners results.
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters by Joseph Sugarman
An industry classic, Sugarman’s book shares comprehensive techniques and advice to create compelling, results-driven copy. He teaches how to engage readers, lead them to a sales message, and induce action. Sugarman’s book helps you master the art of copywriting to sell effectively.
The Art of the Click: How to Harness the Power of Direct-Response Copywriting and Make More Sales by Glenn Fisher
Fisher’s book offers insights into the world of direct-response copywriting. He shares techniques for crafting copy that grabs attention, builds interest, and induces readers to click and buy. This practical guide is filled with examples and exercises to hone your copywriting skills.
The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly
This seminal book serves as a comprehensive guide for those venturing into the world of copywriting. Bly enlightens readers on the principles and techniques required to produce effective, persuasive copy. With insights on email marketing, online copywriting, and SEO, this book remains a must-have in every copywriter’s library.
The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era by Teressa Iezzi
Iezzi’s book provides an overview of the changing landscape of copywriting in the digital age. It offers insights into the new opportunities and challenges presented by social media, online advertising, and branding.
The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
This is a masterclass in crafting sales letters that convert. Known for his straight-to-the-point style and years of experience in direct-response marketing, Kennedy provides clear, actionable advice on how to create compelling sales letters that make readers want to act. In addition to learning the nuts and bolts of creating compelling sales letters, Kennedy covers everything from crafting an irresistible offer to writing engaging headlines, creating a sense of urgency, and addressing customer objections before they arise.
Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy That Grabs Their Attention and Compels Them to Buy by Maria Veloso
In an era of digital marketing, Veloso’s book is a comprehensive guide for writing effective web copy. She shares techniques for writing compelling headlines, email marketing, SEO, and crafting copy that converts online visitors into customers.
Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas by Richard Bayan
A veritable thesaurus for marketers and copywriters, Bayan’s book is an indispensable tool for those moments when the right word eludes you. This book offers numerous alternatives for worn-out phrases, cliches, and overused buzzwords, thus amplifying your copy’s impact.
Write to Sell: The Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting by Andy Maslen
Maslen’s book is an easy-to-follow guide to creating compelling sales copy. He presents a step-by-step process for writing copy that sells, making it ideal for beginners in the copywriting field.
Writing That Works: How to Communicate Effectively in Business by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson
Roman and Raphaelson’s book serves as a guide to effective business communication. It offers valuable tips on writing presentations, memos, resumes, and other business-related documents. For copywriters, it provides insights into writing copy that not only sells but also resonates with business audiences.
Use this list to jumpstart your own copywriting journey.
What’s your favorite copywriting classic?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.