10 Awesome Books & Resources for Freelance Copywriters
Start and Grow Your Successful Copywriting Business!
I’ve been a freelance copywriter for over seven years, I’ve also worked for huge multinational corporations and ad agencies as a fulltime employee during my time in the business.
When starting out, it’s really hard to know what you need to do to get up and running quickly and successfully. One lesson I’ve learned is that if you look hard enough, you’ll find someone who has already done what you’re trying to do. And if you want to succeed, you simply have to follow the route taken by other successful people in your industry.
The list below includes books that will show you exactly how to start and grow your own business.
As writers, we write! So, there are many books and resources you can find to make a successful start in your industry and become a top expert in the field. In addition to the nuts and bolts of starting your own freelance copywriting business, you have to focus on learning and improving your skills. As success expert Brian Tracy says, "the market pays above-average for above-average results, average money for average results and below-average money for below-average results". It’s up to you to produce above-average work so your compensation matches! This is why you must continue learning and practicing your craft. Below, you’ll also find books that will help you become a fantastic copywriter.
Books & Resources to Grow Your Copywriting Business:
I love this book so much I purchased two editions and it’s well worth it to grab one for yourself. Bowerman discusses everything from what a freelance commercial writer does, to prospecting for clients and landing them through collecting on debts.In my opinion, the most valuable section for me was when he talks about cold-calling.
Today, with email, SEM and SEO, many people don’t even think about picking up a phone and cold-calling prospects. This is the very reason why it’s valuable, because so few of your competitors will be doing it! If you can get over the very natural fear of selling your services over the phone, you’ll see great results.
Wildly successful copywriter Bob Bly lays out the path to creating a thriving freelance writing business in this gem of a book. This is actually the book that helped me launch my own business successfully.
I love how Bly explains all of the different types of money-making writing out there, many you wouldn’t think of on your own. He also describes the various clients you can seek out to sell copywriting services to and how to prospect effectively. The book also contains numerous samples of documents Bly used to build his own business - which he encourages you to use. These include contracts, sales letters, sample brochures and more.
The financial side of freelancing can be scary. We don’t have the security of a steady paycheck like corporate workers. Plus, as creatives, many of us aren't well versed in money management. This book can help. From managing your sporadic paychecks to how to plan for retirement and taxes - through saving effectively, this material will really open your eyes and lay some solid groundwork for your financial peace of mind.
This is a no-nonsense course about everything you’ll need to know about great copywriting. Bly explains how to craft killer headlines, write to communicate, sell, develop body copy that works and explains multiple different formats for both print and web. I love Bly because he explains step-by-step how to write effective copy using many easy-to-understand examples. This is a must-have reference manual.
From the man who started one of the most successful agencies of all time, Ogilvy on Advertising removes the mystery and tells you what you need to know about creating hard selling advertising.
A believer in in-depth market research and no-nonsense copy, Ogilvy explains his philosophy of selling through advertising. He also talks about how agencies work - which for freelancers might not be overly valuable, but it sure is fun to read about. Ogilvy writes about some of his more successful campaigns and how they came to be.
This book is hilarious and incredibly insightful. Sullivan explains how to develop effective copywriting but for me, it was the stories he tells about the fun and frustrations that come in the business. Sullivan describes different client types that you will come to recognize - and probably be driven crazy by - at some time during your career. Lots of insights and lots of laughs from this one.
You may never have to write a ‘sales letter’ during your career, but this book is still very valuable. This shows you how to think when you’re crafting your sales or marketing material. What you should put first, second and third, how customers think and how to write to sell. This information is adaptable no matter what medium you’re working in. If you do end up writing sales letters, for yourself or clients, you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you’ll need to convert readers into customers.
This is a great choice for web writers. Redish discusses how to write clearly and simply for the online environment. She goes into content strategy, SEO and even Social Media, which is a medium many copywriters aren't comfortable with.
As an expert in the field of information design, Redish actually knows what she’s writing about. Highly recommended for people interested in the digital side of copywriting and driving valuable traffic.
#9: Copywriter Newsletters
#10: Accounting and Billing Software
I’ll keep this short and sweet. Once you have steady work and things are busy, it’s great to simplify your accounting and billing practices. Trust me, it takes a lot of stress out of the process. There are many different options, both software and cloud-based you can use. You can probably find a country-specific product that might even help with tax management.
Here are a Few Really Good Ones:
Bonus #11: Good Copywriter Marketplaces
These are the top marketplaces where copywriters can find clients:
Marketplaces for Copywriters/Writers Only:
General Marketplaces with Jobs for Copywriters:
By modeling successful people in our industry, you’ll be able to start and run your own copywriting business. You should always try to improve your skills, and as a freelancer it’s up to you. Check out the books and resources in my list and you’ll be well on your way to a lucrative career in a great field.