Recommended Reading

The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells
by Robert W. Bly
Handbook is an apt description, as this book works almost like an instruction manual or a bible to the copywriter. Whether you’re new to the game or an experienced writer, there are ideas in here that can take your project to the next step. Look to it almost as a text book, dissecting great ads and providing clear examples of success in copywriting.

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads
by Luke Sullivan & Edward Boches
Luke’s classic guide is now in its fifth edition. I’ve bought this book 3 times over the years. I usually give it to someone junior to steer them in the right direction. It takes a storytelling approach to deliver helpful insight and guidance that’s easy to follow.

The Online Copywriter’s Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Write Electronic Copy That Sells
by Robert Bly
Bly is back with a handbook just for online copywriting. This book is a great addition to The Copywriter’s Handbook, or as a standalone to learn online copywriting.

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters
by Joseph Sugarman
This one is by one of advertising’s greats: Joe Sugarman. It’s a practical set of guidelines with advice to help you break into the business and build your career.

The Copywriter’s Toolkit: The Complete Guide to Strategic Advertising Copy
by Margo Berman
What makes Margo’s book unique is perspective. She provides a lot of insider insight that seems to be missing from so many other copywriting books. From the sample ideas to the colorful pages, this book makes an awesome addition to your copywriting library.

Your Attention Please: How to Appeal to Today’s Distracted, Disinterested, Disengaged, Disenchanted, and Busy Consumer
by Paul B. Brown & Alison Davis
Whether you read this book cover to cover or just flip it open to a random page, it will change how you write. Awesome ideas abound in this simple little guide. This is another one I’ve bought repeatedly and given to someone with writer’s block.

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
by William Strunk Jr. & E. B. White
This is the little silver book that almost fits in your pocket! (Okay, it fits in some pockets.) Need a quick reference for grammar and style? Keep this on your desk until you’ve got it memorized. Your editors will thank you.

Style Guides

Different agencies, publications, clients, and industries follow different style guides. Below are a few of the most common ones I’ve needed over the years. Don’t run out and buy these until you need them.

AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors
Hospitals, pharmaceutical copywriters, and medical organizations use the AMA Manual of Style. Quick tip when making a bulleted list: these guys DON’T put periods at the end.

The Associated Press Stylebook 2017
The AP Stylebook is mostly focused on reporting, as you might guess. But it’s a good style guide and a lot of companies follow it. Quick tip when making a bulleted list: these guys DO put periods at the end.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
The Chicago Manual of Style reminds you to include yellow mustard, celery salt, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomatoes, and something called a sport pepper on all your copy. The book comes from a university setting and it’s used most often in journals and academic publications.