Writers buy a lot of books.
I think that makes sense.
My favorite books on copywriting, content marketing, and B2B marketing have taught me a lot.
They’re a quick reference while I work. And they give me a shot of inspiration when I need one.
I keep all the titles listed below on my bookshelves within easy reach. I’ve included an Amazon link to every book where you can click to find out more or buy that item.
Yes, I get a few pennies per book from those affiliate links. I use that trickle of credit to buy more books!
I’ve written reviews of a few of my favorites, and the links to those reviews are given below as well.
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- Cashing In With Content by David Meerman Scott
- Content is Cash by Wendy Montes de Oca
- Content Rules by Ann Handley
- Stories That Sell by Casey Hibbard. This is the only book I know that’s all about case studies, and it’s excellent. See more on it in my article here.
- Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore.
The seminal work on how to avoid getting stuck in the vast chasm between startup and Main Street. Updated in 2014.
- No Time Marketing by Alyssa S. Dver.
A great little guide that makes planning your small biz marketing quick and painless. Click here for my review.
- The Marketing Gurus by Chris Murray.
Quick summaries of 17 classic marketing books. There’s something for everyone here. And what a time-saver, compared to reading 17 books!
- The Marketing Playbook by John Zagula and Richard Tong.
These guys worked at Microsoft, back in the day, and they have some very sharp suggestions on how to go to market.
- Marketing Warfare by Al Ries.
An absolute classic that taught me the four basic types of marketing campaigns: offensive, defensive, flanking (my fav!) and guerilla. Mainly about B2C, but totally applicable to B2B.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
Here’s why this book is perfect for white paper writers.
And why it’s great for white paper marketers, too.
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
The original, the one and only. Still amazingly relevant to today’s business world. Break these principles at your own peril.
- Associated Press Stylebook This is the style guide used by most American newspapers, and the one I most often follow for white papers. Gives you a clear set of rules, even if you’re going to break them.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
Every writer should have a copy of this right beside their screen. Read my love letter to this little book here.
- Letting Go of the Words by Janice Redish.
Aimed at web writers, the advice here applies to any B2B content. Know your audience, keep it simple, use good titles and clear headings, break it up into bite-sized pieces.
- Microsoft Manual of Style by Microsoft Corporation. If you’re searching for the right name to call something you see on a screen, it’s probably in here. Along with many other tips.
- Phrases That Sell
by Edward Werz. Sort of a companion to the following two books, by a different person.
- Words that Sell + More Words That Sell, both by Richard Bayan.
You can actually flip through these books and pull out the perfect little gem to drop into your copy. And it’s fun too.
- The Yahoo! Style Guide by Yahoo!
This 512-page source book is packed with useful tips and best practices. Here, I take a look at how this material applies to white paper writers.
- Crafting White Paper 2.0 by Jonathan Kantor.
This book looks at how white papers can be improved by the careful use of design and content. Here’s my notes on it, with a look at some of Kantor’s best tips.
- The White Paper Marketing Handbook by Bob Bly. Here’s my review, including Bly’s excellent list of ways to prove the assertions in a white paper.
- White Papers for Dummies by Gordon Graham. Have you heard of this one? Here’s a sample of what people have been saying about it. Or you can scroll down this page to see more.
- Writing White Papers by Michael Seltzner.
The first commercial book about white papers, this title takes a practical approach with lots of proven techniques. Here’s my review from a few years ago when this first appeared.
- Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson.
Brilliant advice on how to create lovely slide decks that keep people awake. Tip: Use one (relevant) photo and one heading per slide. Then assemble your slides as a 3-act story.
- The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint by Edward R. Tufte.
I had to include this, the most classy anti-PowerPoint rant ever. A powerful diatribe that sent me searching for the other titles on how to do better slide decks.
- How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff.
A great little book that all marketers should read. And all designers, too. Example: Here’s how NOT to resize infographics if you want them to stay accurate.
- Marketer’s Visual Tool Kit by Terry Richey.
Out of print, but if you can find one, get it. Lots of great ideas for graphics here.
- Presenting to Win by Jerry Weissman.
You get 4 bullets per slide and 4 words per bullet. That’s it, that’s all. From a former TV producer turned PowerPoint drill-master to the stars of Silicon Valley roadshows.
Writing as a Business
- The Everything Guide To Writing Copy by Steve Slaunwhite.
A personal friend, Steve put together an excellent guide to the business of writing copy, filled with lots of tips and tricks.
- The Wealthy Freelancer by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage, and Ed Gandia.
I recommend this book to every freelancer I know. Tons of pragmatic advice on how to launch or pump up a freelance business. Got your buzz piece ready yet?
- The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman.
Another friend and colleague. My copy has post-its, dog ears, and highlighter throughout… the sure sign of a useful read.
About my own book
I recently had the pleasure to write a book about white papers myself. I tried to pack in everything I learned in 15 years working on these challenging documents.
And I’m delighted that White Papers for Dummies
has been very well-received by the copywriting community.
It continues to earn 5-star ratings on Amazon.
It’s available in print and as an e-book for all the most popular e-readers. (I like having an e-book version, so I can quickly search through the whole text.)
And for about $20, most people say it’s a great deal.
Whether you’re a marketing manager seeking to use white papers to promote your company, or a copywriter looking to break into this well-paying field, White Papers for Dummies
offers tons of practical, step-by-step advice on how to plan, create, and promote great white papers.
Why not give it a peek?
Do you have any favorite books on copywriting, B2B marketing, or successful freelancing you’d like to recommend? Please leave your Comments below.