Most ‘best of’ book list blog posts are trash.
They usually contain books the author hasn’t read to pad the articles word count.
I hate that. I’m a huge reader and love when ACTUAL pros share their list. That’s why I decided to share the 11 best copywriting books I’ve discovered.
Each book has specifically helped me:
*Increase the number of clients I get
*Land better clients
*Get more gigs on Upwork
*Raise my hourly rates
I also wanted this list to help freelance writers who are just starting AND are on the cusp of breaking 6-figures.
This list has a diverse range of books ranging from big-picture thinking, tactical ways to write better, to how to negotiate with clients so you can increase what you are worth.
With the right books, you’ll learn real-world methods to raise your rates, get bigger contracts, and have twice the number of clients asking you for work than right now.
Books are part of my ‘unfair advantage’ system. Here is my list of the 11 best copywriting books I’ve used. Use it to help you get your unfair advantage.
The 11 Best Copywriting Books To Grow Your Freelance Writing Business
Industry Specific Book: Finding The Right Message By:Jennifer Havice
Jennifer’s book distills multiple review mining methods into easy to apply approaches to increase the impact of my research.
As I move deeper into understanding and implementing data to increase the effectiveness of my client’s copy I look for industry-specific books that help me grow my skills.
Jennifer’s book was amazing. In under 250 pages, she distills key skills that took her years of trial and effort to get right.
Lateral Strategy Book: Trading Up By:Michael Silverstein
I am working more with businesses looking to carry high return products or services to add to their revenue.
That is what makes this one of the best copywriting books out there. It helps me increase the impact I bring clients without increasing my labor.
It does this by outlining the psychology that compels people to pick higher priced options-even when a similar product/service is available for a portion of the cost.
Silverstein’s book broke the psychology, positioning, and more that gets consumers to choose higher priced products and services when offered more affordable options.
Freelance Writing Book For Everyone-Building A StoryBrand:Donald Miller
Freelance writers need to know how to tell a story. Donald Miller lays out the best possible methods to tell stories so well that readers become customers.
More clients are interested in creating relationships with their leads. This book will show you how to write content in such a way that it does that.
Donald lays out, step by step, how you can tell a better story to get more clients. This will help you understand the way people perceive your content along with how to position it to get the best results.
The Growing Relationships With Clients Book–Giftology:John Ruhlin
This is the sleeper hit in my list of best-copywriting books.
John is someone I know and trust. He was the best door to door knife salesman-in the country! He created a gifting company from the principles he learned being the best salesman in the country.
Giftology is, at its heart, a book about building and maintaining relationships organically. If you are at the point in your career where you are working with clients for 6 months or longer this is a must read.
Get It Here
The Book To Read When You Finally Decide To Go Full Time:Fanatical Prospecting:Jeb Blount, Mike Weinberg
This is one of the best copywriting books that aren’t specifically about copywriting that I read this year.
If you want to go full time you have to read this book. It outlines the exact method you need to use to get and stay booked solid.
When I finally found this book I was upset. Why?
I wish I had found it years earlier!
The principles in the book detail how you need to create a consistent practice of cultivating clients. There are some points where the message bleeds over from work like into real life.
As an online freelancer, I don’t think this will apply. You aren’t selling a physical product so your reach will be bottlenecked (in a good way).
If you are looking to increase your hourly rates this is a great book too. It helps you increase your rates by growing the flow of clients into your funnel.
The Being A Better Sales Copywriter Book:The Ultimate Sales Letter-Dan Kennedy
Look, if you haven’t read Dan Kennedy you are missing out. Dan is old and some of his content is dated-but the thinking and strategies are still good.
This is one of those books that is on every ‘best copywriting books’ list you’ll find-and for good reason.
Dany has blazed a path for freelance copywriters. Dan showed how creating the right sales message can help you make 6 to 7-figures decades ago!
This is pure sales copywriting at its best. If you are looking to pick up some mindsets and direct response skills to take to your clients this is a must read!
The Strategy Book To Grow Your Marketing Skills Book–The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing:Al Ries, Jack Trout
This is another one of those weird books that doesn’t teach copywriting but can make you a better copywriter.
I actually had to read it twice to really appreciate how it applied. The first time I read it I skimmed it and came away with zero new ideas. Later on, I went back and saw that the book was filled with strategies I could insert into the copy I created.
Like Dan Kennedy’s sales letter book, everyone says to read this-but few actually do. I’m glad I made a point to really dig in, and you will to.
Get It Here
Note:The authors also have a book on branding. I haven’t read it but if you are looking to grow your branding knowledge check it out and write me back about the experience. I’d love to know if you liked it or not-and why.
The Negotiation Book To Get Better Contracts And Clients-Start With No:Jim Camp
Freelancers don’t understand negotiation.
If you think of negotiation as a shady thing you do to get more money or diffuse negative situations-you need to read this book.
Jim is a brilliant and it shows. The book outlines strategies and mindsets he uses to prepare for negotiations, position himself for the best outcome before ever saying a word, and understanding the outcome he wants before he starts.
This book will help you because it can show you how to create contracts that are fair and get clients to recognize the importance of paying you what you are worth.
Why The Best Copywriting Books Don’t Always Teach Copywriting
You probably read the list and thought,
‘There aren’t a lot of copywriting specific books on there.’
You are right. I didn’t include a lot of copywriting strategy books because there are so many different styles I didn’t want to influence you to choose just one.
To be a great copywriter, increase your hourly rates, and book yourself solid you need to create a skill set specific to interests you have.
That’s why I included books that impacted me as a copywriter.
Last year I read ‘Thinking Fast And Slow’ By Daniel Kahneman. This is a book that covers the psychology of cognitive reasoning and reaction.
The book didn’t teach anything about copywriting but what I learned resulted in me:
1:Booking a long form sales page
2:Generating $400K in sales for this project
‘This is great. But how do I know which books are right for me? And how many should I read?’
Great question! To help you pick the books that are right for you I’ve included the guidelines I use when deciding to read a book.
How To Identify And Buy The Best Copywriting Books For Your Needs
I love books and read all the time. This was a huge weakness for me for years.
I would buy whatever caught my eye and end up wasting time reading something that didn’t help me.
To make sure I used my time the best way possible I came up with three guidelines I use to decide if I should read the book or not.
Guideline 1: It Teaches Me Something New
The first guideline I use is asking if taking the time to read the book will teach me something I don’t know but should.
I would love to learn about SEO but my clients don’t come to me for it. My clients want a sales strategy, increased conversion, and business strategy.
What about subjects I already know? Do I buy more books on it? It depends.
I will buy a book about a subject I already know if it:
A:Gives me a bigger insight I don’t currently have
B:Shines a light on an issue I haven’t been able to solve
C:It discusses something my clients have started talking about that they haven’t before
Guideline 2:Does It Teach Me A Non-Industry Skill I Can Apply Laterally
Learning non-industry skills that apply to your industry is a competitive advantage few service providers develop. The best copywriting books provide simple ways for you to stand out from the competition naturally.
When I read ‘Thinking Fast And Slow’ I was able to outline a strategy that increased sales by considering a psychological approach tailored to a specific emotion.
When I look for non-industry books I focus on writing that gives me insight into a strategy, mindset, or approach that applies across all platforms.
The 12 Week Year By Brian Moran accomplished that. It’s approach to getting more done showed me how to execute large projects in short amounts of time.
This helps me shorten launch cycles for clients without losing quality.
Guideline 3:Does It Increase My Skills As A Business Owner
You need to constantly increase your skills not just as a service provider but also as an entrepreneur.
This is where you develop the skills that keep clients working with you for years to come, get you key referrals, and expose you to greater opportunity.
Reading The 4 Principles Of Execution by Sean Covey helped me increase my per day output without experiencing a decrease in quality of work. The management skills showed me how to better manage execution across my entire business.
When picking a book in this area its best to start small and scale. Identify something you need help with and then work to resolve that.
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