If you’re just starting your library of copywriting books, there are four books that I recommend to get you rolling. Each of them is relatively short. The first two are easy reads and the second two are a little bit more difficult for modern readers to get through, but they are worth the effort. Here are my four recommended copywriting books:
Bob Bly’s ‘Copywriter’s Handbook’. This really is the gold standard that gives the best overall explanation of what copywriting is all about. It covers not only direct response copywriting which, is primarily what this blog is devoted to, but all sorts of copywriting. Whether it’s for radio, brochures, or even business cards I think you’ll really get a lot of value out of Bob’s book.
Dan Kennedy’s ‘The Ultimate Sales Letter’. He’s one of the deans of copywriting… and this book is pure gold. Dan lays out a good basic system for writing copy in this brief and highly-readable book.
Claude Hopkins, ‘Scientific Advertising’. This is one of the classics of direct marketing advertising, especially for copywriters. It’s a little bit tougher read just because it was written not long after the turn of the previous century, so the language seems a bit archaic and a bit more formal than what we’re accustomed to, but the principles stand clear and true as ever.
Eugene Schwartz’s Breakthrough Advertising. Not the kind of “light and easy” read you find in the business and marketing books of today, this volume will yield wealth to those who study it. Gene managed to squeeze the most “content per paragraph” into his work I think I have ever seen. Read it and see if you don’t agree. Yes, some of the examples and copy seem dated, but like Hopkins work the principles remain true.
That ought to keep you busy for a few days!