The best copywriting books

6 authors have picked their favorite books about copywriting and why they recommend each book.

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Breakthrough Advertising

By Eugene M. Schwartz,

Book cover of Breakthrough Advertising

Decades old, this book continues to be one of the most important resources for creating and delivering effective messages in marketing. Eugene Schwartz is one of the godfathers of direct advertising whose insights about understanding your customer’s state of awareness have been invaluable to countless marketers and copywriters. The examples he shares may be dated, but the advice remains relevant.

Breakthrough Advertising

By Eugene M. Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Breakthrough Advertising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

paperback version


Who am I?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been intrigued by how people make decisions and why the words we use can significantly impact those decisions. After years of conducting customer research and writing marketing messages for clients, my interest in finding and delivering compelling messages at just the right time to the right audience has only grown. I’ve poured my experience in the online marketing trenches into my book, Finding the Right Message, where I reference more than one of the authors on my recommendation list. 


I wrote...

Finding the Right Message: How to Turn Voice of Customer Research Into Irresistible Website Copy

By Jennifer Havice,

Book cover of Finding the Right Message: How to Turn Voice of Customer Research Into Irresistible Website Copy

What is my book about?

Imagine if you could connect with your website visitors the moment they landed on your website. They understood exactly what kind of value your product or solution provided. And they were eager to join your email list, start your free trial, or hit the buy button. What would that mean to your business?

Jen Havice, messaging strategist and customer-driven copywriter, walks you through how to ask the right questions to learn what makes your customers tick so you can produce copy your visitors can’t resist. Filled with examples, templates, and case studies, this second edition of Finding the Right Message is both practical and timely. You’ll get a process for determining what messages your customers need to see along with field-tested ways of improving your copy.

Writing Is Designing

By Michael J. Metts, Andy Welfle,

Book cover of Writing Is Designing

I first read this book as a technical reviewer and loved how the book almost felt like a double-act, with both Andy and Michael sharing their tips for great content design. The book takes you through the design process for good content, from creating the content itself to testing and measuring with your team. It’s simply written and laid out, so it doesn’t feel like a technical read, and you’ll feel well-equipped to approach even the trickiest content design challenges.

Writing Is Designing

By Michael J. Metts, Andy Welfle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing Is Designing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Without words, apps would be an unusable jumble of shapes and icons, while voice interfaces and chatbots wouldn't even exist. Words make software human–centered, and require just as much thought as the branding and code. This book will show you how to give your users clarity, test your words, and collaborate with your team. You'll see that writing is designing.


Who am I?

I moved into content design from a career in brand and marketing, at a time when the discipline was emerging and not many people really knew what it was. Much of my time since has been spent educating people and organisations and sharing knowledge to help them make better content decisions. Throughout this time, I’ve learnt most of what I know through the experience of working with the design teams, but so many books have also helped me along the way and made my work so much better. I love content design – having the power to improve people's experiences with brands through words is so rewarding, and these books will inspire others to do the same.


I wrote...

Why You Need a Content Team and How to Build One

By Rachel McConnell,

Book cover of Why You Need a Content Team and How to Build One

What is my book about?

Over the last decade, organisations have started to realise that content extends beyond marketing and advertising and into all parts of the customer experience – from how content is structured through to the microcopy elements on a website or app – everything must work together cohesively.

Creating strategic content depends on the right people with the right skills, and this book is designed to help you create and build a team. You’ll understand the different content roles for user experience design, how they can work together in any organisation, and how to hire the right people.

Book cover of The 60-Second Sales Hook: How to Stand Out and Sell More Using the Power of Your Story

In a world of ever-shortening attention spans, you’ve got a minute (maybe even less) to grab your reader’s attention and hook them. How exactly do you do that? Kevin Rogers lays out a simple four-step framework you can use to sell any product in any market with ease. This book has come in handy time and time again. It always helps me get to the essence of the sales argument I’m trying to construct. I use this framework for this book on my websites, in my sales letters, and even in some of my emails. It’s a timeless formula you’ll lean on for years to come. 

The 60-Second Sales Hook

By Kevin Rogers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 60-Second Sales Hook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How a nightclub comedian turned a simple joke formula into a million dollar sales hook... and how you can use the same easy 4-sentence formula to stand out from the crowd and connect more deeply with your best customers and prospects.


Who am I?

I started my adult life as a bouncer and a school teacher. A few years later, I was running one of the most well-known email marketing agencies in the industry. The reason this happened is because I dedicated my life to becoming a master copywriter. Learning how to write copy was the key that unlocked a level of freedom I didn’t know existed, both personal and financial. It’s also allowed me to write two bestselling books on email marketing, work with 250+ brands, and coach 2,200+ students around the world. I hope this list helps you take your writing skills up a notch.


I wrote...

Make it Rain: The Secret to Generating Massive Paydays from Your Email List

By Chris Orzechowski,

Book cover of Make it Rain: The Secret to Generating Massive Paydays from Your Email List

What is my book about?

People who master copywriting have the rare ability to turn words into money. If you do business on the internet, this is one skill you need to have in your toolbox. I wrote this book to teach people the basics of copywriting, specifically when it comes to short-form advertising mediums like email. After you read this book, every piece of copy you write will convert better. Your emails, social posts, and landing pages will light people up. Your sales will skyrocket. And you’ll finally be getting the attention, fame, and notoriety your brand deserves.

Ready to take your writing chops to the next level fast? Click the link and make it rain!

My Life in Advertising

By Claude Hopkins,

Book cover of My Life in Advertising

A lot of writers get all hot and bothered over Claude’s other book, Scientific Advertising. But I think it’s somewhat boring and too theoretical. My Life In Advertising is the story of how an unknown copywriter transformed the world of advertising forever and became the most powerful man in print.

Claude wasn’t a conqueror like Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon. But when you read this book, it awakens that same spirit. This man turned himself into a legend. His story-arc is something I became cognizant of, especially as I started to build my business and get my name out there.

This one will teach you about ad writing, sure. But the more important lessons will come from how Claude became somebody in this industry.

My Life in Advertising

By Claude Hopkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Life in Advertising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“My Life in Advertising” is an autobiography detailing the life of advertising genius Claude C. Hopkins (author of the business classic “Scientific Advertising”). This book is not written as a personal history, but as a business story. The chief object behind every chapter is to offer helpful suggestions to those who will follow his advice. As practical as it is interesting, “My Life in Advertising” is a must-read book for anyone wanting to understand the secrets of how to sell. Many of his strategies and techniques still apply today, even for internet marketing.


Who am I?

I started my adult life as a bouncer and a school teacher. A few years later, I was running one of the most well-known email marketing agencies in the industry. The reason this happened is because I dedicated my life to becoming a master copywriter. Learning how to write copy was the key that unlocked a level of freedom I didn’t know existed, both personal and financial. It’s also allowed me to write two bestselling books on email marketing, work with 250+ brands, and coach 2,200+ students around the world. I hope this list helps you take your writing skills up a notch.


I wrote...

Make it Rain: The Secret to Generating Massive Paydays from Your Email List

By Chris Orzechowski,

Book cover of Make it Rain: The Secret to Generating Massive Paydays from Your Email List

What is my book about?

People who master copywriting have the rare ability to turn words into money. If you do business on the internet, this is one skill you need to have in your toolbox. I wrote this book to teach people the basics of copywriting, specifically when it comes to short-form advertising mediums like email. After you read this book, every piece of copy you write will convert better. Your emails, social posts, and landing pages will light people up. Your sales will skyrocket. And you’ll finally be getting the attention, fame, and notoriety your brand deserves.

Ready to take your writing chops to the next level fast? Click the link and make it rain!

Book cover of The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters

This book is a comprehensive guide on copywriting and selling by a legendary direct response writer. It’s not specific to writing for the web but covers the basic principles of persuasion such as how to sell on emotion and help people justify a purchase with logic. It also includes many useful writing tips such as how to write the first sentence and how to sow seeds of curiosity to keep readers engaged. 

I’ve probably highlighted more quotes in this book than in any other book on writing. Highly recommended! 

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook

By Joseph Sugarman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Adweek Copywriting Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Great copy is the heart and soul of the advertising business. In this practical guide, legendary copywriter Joe Sugarman provides proven guidelines and expert advice on what it takes to write copy that will entice, motivate, and move customers to buy. For anyone who wants to break into the business, this is the ultimate companion resource for unlimited success.


Who am I?

In 2012, I escaped my corporate job to found Enchanting Marketing. I had discovered I love writing and I love teaching people how to write even more. I help small business owners and solo flyers find their voice and share their ideas with gusto, so they can captivate, educate, and inspire their audience. I created this list with 5 book recommendations as a mini-course on writing for the web. There’s little overlap between the books; they all complement each other. Happy reading and happy writing! 


I wrote...

How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide to Picking Up More Customers

By Henneke Duistermaat,

Book cover of How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide to Picking Up More Customers

What is my book about?

This practical book takes you through a 6-step process to write your own web copy. 

I decided to write this book because I found that many coaching clients struggled with the process of writing their own website copy. How do you go from a blank page to a persuasive website? None of the books on the market seemed to offer this kind of advice, so I wrote this book. This is more a workbook than a textbook. Each chapter includes one or two assignments, helping you plan, write, edit, and optimize your web copy so you can convert more website visitors into leads and customers.

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This

By Luke Sullivan,

Book cover of Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads

Among copywriting books, this is my favorite: funny, wise, indispensable. Sullivan—an exceptional advertising copywriter, creative director, and, recently, professor—shares his insights about navigating agency life and mastering the copywriter’s craft. He is especially good at how to be more creative and how to keep b.s. out of your ideas and copy (hence his title). A pleasure to read and re-read. He has helped me get past conventional, invisible advertising. I used his book in copywriting classes, and he helped my students find their best ideas. He’ll help you, too.

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This

By Luke Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hey Whipple, Squeeze This as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The new edition of the book readers call the bible for advertising

The sixth edition of Hey Whipple, Squeeze This offers a new take on the rapidly evolving industry of creative advertising. Creativity-while critical-is no longer enough to succeed. Updating all the classic creativity training from the first five editions, this updated version now provides the necessary tools to navigate the field's changing technical and social media landscapes. From learning how to tell brand stories to creating content for Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, Whipple will help sharpen your writing chops, enhance your creativity, and raise the level of your work…


Who am I?

I taught writing and copywriting at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio for thirty-seven years (retiring as an ancient-but-somehow-still-living fossil in 2014). I taught all our majors, but most of my copywriting students were advertising and design majors. During those decades I wrote nonfiction for newspapers and magazines and copy as a freelancer for ad agencies and design studios. My copywriting book emerged from my experiences in and out of the classroom. I hope I’ve given good advice on advertising: how to think about it and how to write it. But you’ll be the judge.


I wrote...

Advertising: Concept and Copy

By George Felton,

Book cover of Advertising: Concept and Copy

What is my book about?

I intend Advertising: Concept and Copy to deliver on its title. Great ad ideas arrive, not by magic, but only when strategic thinking combines with unusual creative expression: when concept meets copy. I cover the process, from developing a smart strategy by understanding product, consumer, and marketplace, to using imagery and language to execute that idea with panache and surprise. My book is practical (how to make great ads), but I support my advice with theory and documentation from the field, as well as with a sequence of how-to-be-creative techniques (“The Toolbox”). I’ve also stuffed the book with terrific classic and contemporary ads. Advertising: Concept and Copy is hands-on, teaching people, I hope, how to think creatively about advertising ideas.

Book cover of Tested Advertising Methods

If you want to run ads that work, you need to learn what makes them work. This book tells you. John Caples is widely regarded to be one of history’s most iconic advertising copywriters. The man knew how to influence people to buy. This classic book gets down to the very foundation of advertising effectiveness and is loaded with examples and success "recipes" that you can immediately apply to your own ads--no matter what you sell. 100% practical, too. Look for the 4th edition or earlier for a book that's “totally Caples” without dilution by editors to "modernize" (er, weaken!) it. Miss this, and you’re missing the Queen Mary

Tested Advertising Methods

By John Caples,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tested Advertising Methods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fifth edition of this work on how to create successful advertising features new coverage on small businesses with limited revenues, non-profit advertising, as well as techniques of headlines, illustrations and layouts. There is also new information useful to smaller businesses.


Who am I?

Drew Eric Whitman is known internationally as a dynamic consultant and trainer who smashes old advertising myths like a china-shop bull. Teaching the psychology behind the response for nearly four decades, he worked for the direct-marketing division of the largest ad agency in Philadelphia, was a senior copywriter for the country's leading direct-to-the-consumer insurance company, and was the associate copy chief for catalog giant Day-TimersHis work has been used by companies ranging from small retail shops to giant, multi-million dollar corporations. A popular keynote speaker at international affiliate marketing conferences, Drew’s intensive CA$HVERTISING Clinic teaches business people how to use consumer psychology to boost the effectiveness of their ads, brochures, sales letters, Websites, and more.


I wrote...

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,

Book cover of Ca$hvertising: How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone

What is my book about?

Translated into 9 languages worldwide, CA$HVERTISING is the best-selling and highest-rated copywriting-psychology book on Amazon today. It teaches you the tips, tricks, and psychological strategies that New York’s top-gun copywriters and designers use to persuade people to buy like crazy. Fast-moving, fun-reading, and practical, CA$HVERTISING was written to save business owners years of costly trial-and-error experimentation. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a corporate giant... an online entrepreneur... or a mom & pop corner pizza shop. That’s because these techniques are based on human psychology. They work no matter where you’re located… no matter what kind of product or service you sell… and no matter where you advertise.

Read it, and you'll know more about how to create effective ads than 99% of your competition. (And that's not just another advertising claim. It's what hundreds of Amazon reviewers have reported after reading CA$HVERTISING.)

Book cover of Is There Any Hope For Advertising?

Howard Gossage was not your typical ad man. He was cut from a different cloth. His love/hate relationship with the profession led to some innovative ad campaigns. He once ran an ad that ended mid-sentence (people were dying to know what happened next). He advertised Finna Gas by offering free balloons - filled with PINK air. He was part troll, part genius. And his style and flair are things I try to emulate with my own work.

You’ll eventually get to a point in your copy career where you feel jaded. Where you’re tired of selling your soul one sentence at a time. When you reach that point, this book will bring you back to life. That’s what it did for me.

Is There Any Hope For Advertising?

By Howard Gossage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Is There Any Hope For Advertising? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gathers Gossage's essays on important issues in advertising as well as a selection of copy from some of his unconventional campaigns


Who am I?

I started my adult life as a bouncer and a school teacher. A few years later, I was running one of the most well-known email marketing agencies in the industry. The reason this happened is because I dedicated my life to becoming a master copywriter. Learning how to write copy was the key that unlocked a level of freedom I didn’t know existed, both personal and financial. It’s also allowed me to write two bestselling books on email marketing, work with 250+ brands, and coach 2,200+ students around the world. I hope this list helps you take your writing skills up a notch.


I wrote...

Make it Rain: The Secret to Generating Massive Paydays from Your Email List

By Chris Orzechowski,

Book cover of Make it Rain: The Secret to Generating Massive Paydays from Your Email List

What is my book about?

People who master copywriting have the rare ability to turn words into money. If you do business on the internet, this is one skill you need to have in your toolbox. I wrote this book to teach people the basics of copywriting, specifically when it comes to short-form advertising mediums like email. After you read this book, every piece of copy you write will convert better. Your emails, social posts, and landing pages will light people up. Your sales will skyrocket. And you’ll finally be getting the attention, fame, and notoriety your brand deserves.

Ready to take your writing chops to the next level fast? Click the link and make it rain!

Book cover of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing: Proven Professional Techniques for Writing with Style and Power

We’re writers before we’re anything else, and over the years I’ve learned from many how-to-write books. I’ll give two recommendations here: One: William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. Justifiably a classic. I’ve gone back to it often and assigned it in writing classes. If you haven’t yet read it, you must. Two: anything by Gary Provost, someone you’ve probably never heard of, but whose books on writing, all of them, give pungent, smart advice on how to write anything better. Brevity, euphony, clarity, surprise, and lots of other elements combine to create prose worth reading. Provost shows us how.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

By Gary Provost,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic text on writing well, now refreshed and updated—an essential text for writers of all ages.

This is the one guide that anyone who writes—whether student, businessperson, or professional writer—should keep on his or her desk. Filled with professional tips and a wealth of instructive examples, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing can help solve any writing problem.

In this compact, easy-to-use volume you'll find the eternal building blocks of good writing—from grammar and punctuation to topic sentences—as well as advice on challenges such as writer's block and creating a strong title. It is a must-have resource—perfect for reading…


Who am I?

I taught writing and copywriting at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio for thirty-seven years (retiring as an ancient-but-somehow-still-living fossil in 2014). I taught all our majors, but most of my copywriting students were advertising and design majors. During those decades I wrote nonfiction for newspapers and magazines and copy as a freelancer for ad agencies and design studios. My copywriting book emerged from my experiences in and out of the classroom. I hope I’ve given good advice on advertising: how to think about it and how to write it. But you’ll be the judge.


I wrote...

Advertising: Concept and Copy

By George Felton,

Book cover of Advertising: Concept and Copy

What is my book about?

I intend Advertising: Concept and Copy to deliver on its title. Great ad ideas arrive, not by magic, but only when strategic thinking combines with unusual creative expression: when concept meets copy. I cover the process, from developing a smart strategy by understanding product, consumer, and marketplace, to using imagery and language to execute that idea with panache and surprise. My book is practical (how to make great ads), but I support my advice with theory and documentation from the field, as well as with a sequence of how-to-be-creative techniques (“The Toolbox”). I’ve also stuffed the book with terrific classic and contemporary ads. Advertising: Concept and Copy is hands-on, teaching people, I hope, how to think creatively about advertising ideas.

The Idea Writers

By Teressa Iezzi,

Book cover of The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era

In recent decades, as advertising has moved from one-way communication about product benefits to conversations with consumers about brands, someone needed to sum things up. Iezzi and the creatives she interviews do exactly that. As she presents it, “First of all, forget about making an ad… You’re making something to compete with every other piece of content, every other media experience that a person has during her waking hours.” The Idea Writers is an excellent primer on this new landscape. How do we create a brand’s story, one that consumers identify with and help propagate, if not create? How do we manage it, move it forward, spread it across various media, and make it viral? How can it become its own never-ending story?

The Idea Writers

By Teressa Iezzi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Idea Writers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Idea Writers guides both new and experienced copywriters through the process of creating compelling messages that sell. It shows readers what it's like to work in the fast-paced world of an agency while providing practical adviceplusdetails oncreatingaward-winning multimedia ad campaigns.


Who am I?

I taught writing and copywriting at Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio for thirty-seven years (retiring as an ancient-but-somehow-still-living fossil in 2014). I taught all our majors, but most of my copywriting students were advertising and design majors. During those decades I wrote nonfiction for newspapers and magazines and copy as a freelancer for ad agencies and design studios. My copywriting book emerged from my experiences in and out of the classroom. I hope I’ve given good advice on advertising: how to think about it and how to write it. But you’ll be the judge.


I wrote...

Advertising: Concept and Copy

By George Felton,

Book cover of Advertising: Concept and Copy

What is my book about?

I intend Advertising: Concept and Copy to deliver on its title. Great ad ideas arrive, not by magic, but only when strategic thinking combines with unusual creative expression: when concept meets copy. I cover the process, from developing a smart strategy by understanding product, consumer, and marketplace, to using imagery and language to execute that idea with panache and surprise. My book is practical (how to make great ads), but I support my advice with theory and documentation from the field, as well as with a sequence of how-to-be-creative techniques (“The Toolbox”). I’ve also stuffed the book with terrific classic and contemporary ads. Advertising: Concept and Copy is hands-on, teaching people, I hope, how to think creatively about advertising ideas.

Or, view all 17 books about copywriting

New book lists related to copywriting

All book lists related to copywriting

Bookshelves related to copywriting