New to freelance copywriting? Read these essential books

New to freelance copywriting and don’t know where to start? If you’re thinking about buying a course, save your money. Read these books instead.
A woman reads essential books for copywriters

When you’re starting out, you’ll find so many courses and books that all the choices can feel overwhelming. All you really want are the straight facts, Jack. Right?
After all, what you want is to get started right away. So you can start feeling the extreme highs of closing deals. Landing well-paying clients by setting healthy rates. And delivering awesome work everyone loves.
So let’s kick off this article with why a course might not be the best option. Then we’ll cover several books beginning copywriters should start off with.
These books apply not only to copywriters, but to freelancers as well. Let’s not mince words. As freelancers, we’re business owners. So let’s look at a few of the essential books for new freelance copywriters who want to build their business as quickly as possible.

Books worth reading for freelance copywriters

Why not a course? 

Many copywriters who first join the Freelance Copywriter Collective ask about the best courses on:
1. Writing copy
2. Getting clients.
You might be thinking that a course is the quickest way to get started. Or it might be easier for you to watch something than to read it.
Whatever your reasons, you don’t need a course, at least in the beginning. A course might be a good investment down the road, when you’ve already got the basics down and your business is up and running. But if you’re on a tight budget, know that courses can get expensive.
If you’ve already put some money aside for a course, then it might make sense. But before you invest in any course, it’s a worthwhile investment of both your time and money to read a few books first.
These are affordable books you can find online for the fraction of the cost of a course. Courses can easily end up costing anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $2,000 or more.

James Franco loves these essential books

Just starting out? Then read these essential books for new freelance copywriters first

 If you’re starting out, there are only 2 to 4 books you should start off with. Here they are.
Steve Slaunwhite’s “Start & Run a Copywriting Business” 
This is the first book I always recommend to copywriters. Out of the hundreds of business books I’ve read, Steve’s book is as straightforward as it gets.
I know what you might be thinking. Yes, it hasn’t been updated in roughly 14 years. I can hear you mutter under your breath, “Did LinkedIn even exist back then?” That’s a valid concern. In fact, there’s even a part where Steve talks about how most people wouldn’t understand what you do as a copywriter.
The speed of information these days, eh?
Still, of the dozens of books on how to get clients, this one stands out as one of the most helpful, practical, and no-nonsense books out there. Fourteen years old or not, this timeless guide still packs a strong punch and is full of practical gems. The book definitely deserves a place in your library.
You can grab it here.

Bob Bly’s “The Copywriter’s Handbook” 

This is the best primer I’ve found for writing copy. This one has little to do with launching and running an actual business. But if you want an approach to learning copy that doesn’t try to sell you on it, this is it. No fluff. This book covers everything from the basics to the psychological principles, to mailers and everything else.
It’s also full of practical advice about how to prepare your deliverables to present to your client. Of these book recommendations, this is the only one about writing copy. (And it’s the only one you need to get started writing it.)
Bob doesn’t write like a salesman either. So if you prefer a non-marketing-speak style where the info is practical, personable, and helpful, then this may well become your copy bible.
Even after reading dozens of books on advertising and writing copy, I can’t think of a better book to get you started.
Get your copy here.

Master-Level Reading Tip


Don’t stick to only copywriting books, or books on freelancing. As a freelancer, you should be reading business books as well. General marketing books are also of incredible value. Quick examples that come to mind include Jay Abraham’s “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got” and Ray Dalio’s “Principles“. 

Pete Bowerman’s “The Well-Fed Writer” 

I understand your hesitation if you look at the publication dates. If you thought 14 years was a while back, then you might be happy to find that Pete’s book is only 11 years old!
Yes, this was still before online social selling really took off. But seriously. If you consider yourself a smart cookie who can figure things out, Pete and Steve’s books are all you need to get started.
Yes, there will be gaps here and there that you’ve got to figure out for yourself. But these two texts are 100% worth reading. I read Pete’s book alongside Steve’s a few years back, and it’s still full of relevant advice that’s applicable today.
You can check it out here.

Valerio Puggioni’s “Start Here” 

This one’s a shameless plug: My book “Start Here”. In the beginning, we meant to create it as a course, but we scrapped that plan. Why? Because we knew that freelance copywriters who are starting out might not have several hundred dollars to invest.
We wanted to offer something of practical value that’s also affordable for new freelance copywriters. So we turned the course into a book.
It’s the most up-to-date info on how to launch and run a copywriting business from home.
It covers topics like:
  • how to get clients on LinkedIn
  • how to find email addresses
  • which tools I use for prospecting
  • what your processes should look like
  • how you can position yourself to win your dream clients
  • … and more.
It’s full of actionable info and exercises, screenshots of my own business, real-life examples, and so on. So if you need to get from A to Z with your new copywriting business with 100% confidence, I wrote this book for you.
You can learn more about it here.

Essential books for freelance copywriters

Onward and upward

If you’ve thought about spending hundreds of dollars for a course, don’t. Keep your money for other things. You might want to buy yourself 4 espressos to get through the books here.
For less than the cost of a single course, you can get all 4 books and 1 espresso for each one. They’re easy reads. They’re fast reads. They’re educational reads. But most importantly, they’re all you need to get you started with your copywriting business.
Did I miss out on any other essential texts for new freelance copywriters? Let me know.

Need help getting clients?

If you’re new to freelance copywriting, in this free video course, we cover how you can get started right away, including how to: 

  • Identify your best niche
  • Connect with your dream clients
  • Land highly profitable projects
… And more! Sign up and let’s launch your profitable freelance copywriting business from home today.

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