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6 Books By Copywriters Turned Authors You Should Read Today

Dive into the best books by copywriters turned authors. Discover which famous literary works were crafted by copy wizards!

image of books on the left, with text '6 books by copywriters turned authors' on the right, on green background

Amid the copywriting tips and tricks I usually share, today I’m sharing some lighter reads by 6 of the best copywriters-turned-authors.

Let’s explore the breadth of talent and creativity within our industry!

I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Around my copywriting deadlines, I’ve been working on my own creative project, which I hope will one day be a published book.

It’s a memoir in essays, gathering my personal contemplations and anecdotes on how a nomadic lifestyle shapes your sense of self, connections, and experience of time. It’s a narrative of messy growth, as fragmented and fun as the lifestyle itself.

So what’s this got to do with copywriting?

I was invited to read an excerpt from the initial stages of the project at an event called Writer’s Tales in Ubud, Bali, on a panel of writers. I got there and it turned out the other 5 other writers were published authors. Cue HUGE imposter syndrome.

Fortunately, I received the most reassuring piece of feedback afterwards: 

‘You can really write. I see this as a podcast, a series of essays, a published book! I mean you’re a copywriter already, do you know how many famous authors are in that industry? A lot! You could knock out a book no problem’’. 

Not only was this a huge ego boost, but it gave me a newfound appreciation for the craft of copywriting.

Let’s be completely honest here, no matter how ethical or creative your niche, copywriting is often seen as a ‘sellout’ creative career or the ‘shelf-stacking of the writing industry’ (I actually read that in a copywriting book once!).

But we’re simply applying our creative skills widely, not only to entertain but to inspire actions. Words are powerful, whether they're on a website or in a famous library.

With that, here are my favourite copywriter-turned-author stories and books you should definitely dive into...

Heather Grant Writer stood in a panel of 6 writers at the Writer's Tales event

6 Books by Copywriters-Turned-Authors

1.   White Noise, Don DeLillo

With five years of experience as a copywriter at Ogilvy and Mather in New York, DeLillo honed his skills in communication and storytelling and hit the jackpot in '85 with his novel debut "White Noise’’. Set against the backdrop of mundane conflicts, the novel delves into themes of love, mortality, and the quest for fulfilment.

2. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ah, "The Great Gatsby" - chances are you've either devoured it or it's been on your to-read list forever. But before he captured the glitz and glam of the roaring 20s, Fitzgerald’s penned the slogan "We Keep You Clean in Muscatine" for Muscatine Steam Laundry. Not the most creative, but hey, his novel more than makes up for it!

3. Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Yep, the mastermind behind "Catch-22", also started as a copywriter. Before he crafted war tales, he was crafting ads at the Merrill Anderson Company in New York in 1953.

4. Lessons In Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus

Having sharpened her skills as a copywriter and creative director in the domains of technology, medicine, and education, Bonnie Garmus embarked on her debut novel, "Lessons in Chemistry. She infused her novel with humour and light-heartedness, sprinkling in her scientific insight.

5. Midnight’s Chlidren, Salman Rushdie

Before stirring up controversy with "The Satanic Verses" in the late '80s, Salman Rushdie cut his teeth in copywriting, secretly scribbling away on manuscripts while working. His knack for storytelling eventually birthed a historical saga of modern India, Midnight's Children, centred around two kids born right as independence from Great Britain rang in.

6.  Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here, Heather Rose

I’ve purposely left this one to last as I have a very spooky anecdote about how Heather Rose came into my radar:

I was at a British themed bookstore on the way home from a trip to the Daintree rainforest in Cairns, Australia. Already very niche. The owner – who I never met before - handed me a book he thought I might be interested it.  Not only did the author have the first name as me, but she was also a copywriter who travelled full time to many of the same places I’d been, practiced yoga and other spiritual rituals, and just generally seemed to have the same outlook on life as me. Spooky.

With an extensive background in advertising copywriting, Heather Rose is now an established author of eight award winning novels. ‘Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here’’ is her creative memoir; a collection of deeply personal reflections on love, death, creativity and healing. 

This is one of my favourite books, and a huge inspiration for the kind of book I want to write.

a collection of books

Final Thoughts

As you make your way through this reading list, it’ll become clear that copywriting isn't just a pit stop, but a playground for honing your craft.

If you need words that pop off the page, don’t hesitate to get in touch about my copywriting services. It might not be a bestselling novel, but together we can craft stories that spark joy and inspire action!

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