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Classic Copywriting Books for Freelance Creatives


The world of freelance copywriting is constantly changing. In order to keep up, a good copywriter is someone who is always trying to learn about the industry and practicing the copywriting craft in response. Though there are a lot of different ways to learn about copywriting, these selected books have proven themselves to be truly timeless classics.

Book #1 for Freelance Creatives – The Robert Collier Letter Book (Robert Collier)

The Robert Collier Letter Book was first published in 1931. Despite the fact that the copywriting industry has experienced a tremendous amount of change since then, the principles laid out in this classic copywriting book have been demonstrably able to stand the tests of time.

The primary purpose of this book is to teach its readers how to write effective sales letters. Though the traditional sales ‘letter’ may not be as common as it once was, its spirit continues to exist in a variety of different forms. Whether you’re writing an email, website copy, or a social media post, the importance of knowing how to effectively communicate to your audience cannot be overstated. 87 years ago, Robert Collier recognized the essential function that marketers play—and no matter what changes may occur, it seems this function will still remain 87 years in the future.

Book #2 for Freelance Creatives – Breakthrough Advertising (Eugene M. Schwartz)

Eugene M. Schwartz is widely recognized as one of the most brilliant minds in marketing. Breakthrough Advertising is a book that utilizes an in-depth, largely scientific approach to each component of reaching a mass audience.

One of the reasons this book is still considered to be a ‘must read’ by many individuals in the marketing industry is its revolutionary application of psychological principles. Schwartz discusses the importance of creating mass desire, focusing on specific details, and creating a lasting impression in the customer’s minds. These principles have been utilized by countless organizations who hope to further improve their brand’s reception. Whether you are hoping to create an effective advertising campaign, write effective copy, or reach a wider audience, Breakthrough Advertising is a book whose value certainly warrants its name.

Book #3 for Freelance Creatives – Ogilvy on Advertising (David Ogilvy)

David Ogilvy is considered by many to be the ‘father of modern advertising’. His work largely reinforced the idea that the purpose of advertising is to sell and also stresses the importance of conducting detailed research when creating an advertising campaign. Additionally, he sought to reinvent the patronizing tone of advertising in the mid-20th Century and is famously quoted as saying “The customer is not a moron, she’s your wife.”

First released in 1983, Ogilvy on Advertising seeks to clearly explain everything Ogilvy had learned in his long and successful career (he is frequently cited as the basis for the character Don Draper in the TV show Mad Men). Ogilvy talks about the differences between good and bad advertisements, the importance of establishing a strong brand position, and how to think about the impact on society a given product can have. This book covers an incredibly wide array of topics and motivates its readers to simultaneously think critically and act deliberately.

Become a master copywriter is an ongoing process that requires a constant thirst for knowledge. If you are looking to learn about what works in the copywriting industry, these books are the perfect place to begin. 


About the author

Grant Polachek

Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Squadhelp–transforming the way names are developed by combining an affordable agency-level brainstorming process with the unmatched creativity of “the crowd.”

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