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Monday, 30 January 2012

Good Copywriting Books

Below you'll find a selection of sixteen books on copywriting and direct marketing writing that have proven useful to me over the years.  Some of them are standards for the advertising industry, others are more obscure. I'll be up front from the word go; most of these books were written by American authors and there is a fair amount of cheese to be found within the pages.  Copywriters targeting other audiences should be mindful that whereas basic human nature is pretty much the same wherever you go in the world, cultural differences are vast, even within the English speaking world.  American style advertising methods simply  can't be imported verbatim into the UK market, for instance, and expect not to be laughed at.

This being said, there is a lot that direct marketing writers can learn from the experience of the American market.  After all, they are the ones who bought to birth and shaped the modern culture of advertising within which we all live and move, like it or not.

I have selected these books from among the dozens of pulp marketing publications I've read as those which contain, genuinely useful writing advise and intersting psychological insights that will help you in your direct marketing.

Don't be put off by the age of some of these works.  The principles of direct marketing haven't changed too much since the seventies, even if the technologies and means of applying those principles have changed drastically.

I recommend all of the books below, but these are my favourites:

  1. On Writing by Stephen King:  An accessible and honest publication from the master of psychological thrillers.
  2. A Technique For producing Ideas, by James Young:  Towards a science of brainstorming...
  3. How To Write A Good Advertisement, by Victor Schwab:  Read this before spending a fortune on an online copywriting course!
  4. Writing for Emotional Impact, by Karl Iglesias :  As a professional fundraiser, this book has been of incalculable value.
  5. The Elements of Copywriting,, by Gary Blake and Robert Bly:  A comprehensive 101 of direct marketing method aimed at beginners.

The complete list of books found below are all currently available either new or second hand on Amazon.  I've included links on each of the images for people who wanted to find out more about the titles.


xcover joy said...

Good article.Thanks for sharing.

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David J Wingfield
I am a thirtysomething year old Englishman from Kent currently living in exile in Nottinghamshire.  I'm something of an armchair traditionalist and enjoy the simple pleasures in life: the English countryside, home cooked food, real ale, malt whisky and time with the family.

I'm an obsessive writer, brewer, actor and history buff ; and usually have an opinion on most things.
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