5 Books to Read In 2021 If You Want to Become a Freelance Copywriter

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5 books to read in 2021 if you want to become a freelance copywriter

[Plus 5 BONUS RESOURCES to Improve Your Copywriting Skills and Gain Industry Knowledge]

The digital marketing world is booming and everyone needs content in 2021. If you’re word folk and you want to become a freelance copywriter, these are (in my library nerd opinion) some of the best books on copywriting, writing, the creative process, and mindset. Which you’ll need if you wanna hang with the big kids, aka start a career as a freelance copywriter.

1. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White (and Pearson)

Yep let’s just get the boring stuff over right now. I had to read this in college and I must admit, it made me a better writer. That’s probably why it’s still a standard on many “best copywriting books” lists. It’s not as funny or entertaining as other titles on this list, but it’s a go-to reference for questions about grammar and style. Remember, you gotta learn the rules before you can break ‘em. 

You gotta learn the rules before you can break ‘em. 

2. The Boron Letters 

Did you know that one of history’s most legendary copywriters did time for tax fraud? And that while he was doing time, he wrote a series of letters to his son that went on to become a cult classic in the copywriting world? Yep. I’m telling you, this is a great business. 

Gary Halbert has written plenty of multi-million dollar earning campaigns for household brands in all kinds of industries. And he managed to turn his prison experience into a pretty sweet deal. I think it’s safe to say he gets it. 

3. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads

Hey Whipple is a must-read if you want to understand writing for the ad biz (and I’m pretty sure you do). This book goes way beyond practical tips like “use active voice”. Luke Sullivan and Sam Bennett offer tips from like a billion years in the ad business on what makes great ads great…and what makes them suck. 

Best of all, it’s full of examples of award-winning ads, which is something I always preach in my Become a Freelance Writer mentorship program: you get better at writing copy by studying great copy.

If you want to get better, learn from the best. 

4. You are a Badass at Making Money

Comparisonitis is real. Imposter syndrome is really real. Mindset is everything if you wanna make it any sort of online business. This book will set you up for success, and remind you that you can freaking do this, no matter how many times you’ve had to scrounge in the couch cushions for change…I’ve read it twice. 

Yes, it’s a mindset book and not a “how to write better copy” book…well, that’s another list (and I provide a lot more resources in my program)! This list includes resources for “becoming a freelance copywriter”. And like I said, you’ll need a winning mindset if you want to make it in the copywriting game.

5. The E Myth

This rec is for the business side of things. You’ll meet the Entrepreneur, the Technician, and the Manager. And guess what –  you’re all of them, at first! But if you dream of taking your business past the toddler phase, this book provides a framework. Set up your company for growth from the start by 1. Thinking of your business as a system that you can replicate and 2. Envisioning it in its future form. Because if there’s one thing I wish I’d learned sooner in my writing career, it’s to think like a business, not a freelancer. 

5 BONUS RESOURCES If You Want to Become a Freelance Copywriter (Improve Your Writing Skills and Gain Industry Knowledge)

Buuuuuut wait, that’s not all! *game show announcer voice* 

There are actually a LOT more books on copywriting out there. And I’ll make a confession – I haven’t read them all. So I won’t include them here. But oh man have I read a lot of blogs and voted in a crapton of Facebook polls in copywriter groups. I may have even furiously googled email examples for a client project or two.

Well, friend, now you get to benefit from my years of googling research experience. Heck yeah, paying it forward! 

Because I wuv you and I don’t want you to have to spend as much time as I did figuring all this stuff out, here’s 5 bonus resources to help you level up your copy game, like, yesterday. 

  • Best* Free Facebook Group (where you can learn from other word nerds): The Copywriter Club
  • Best* Blog For Learning How to ‘Write to Sell’ aka Conversion Copywriting: Copyhackers 
  • Best* Free Online Swipe File of Totally Stealable Emails: Really Good Emails
  • Best* Free Editing Tool to Whip Your Writing Into Shape: Hemingway App 
  • Best* Way To Jumpstart Your Journey To A Freelance Copywriting Career: Guidance and insider info from someone who’s been there

*according to me and a bunch of other working copywriters 

Guidance and insider knowledge are exactly what you’ll get in my Become a Freelance Writer mentorship program:

  • One-on-one advice
  • All your questions answered
  • Expert feedback on your writing 
  • How to find clients & market yourself
  • And so much more

I'm interested!

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