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Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas Paperback – April 5, 2006

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Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas + Phrases That Sell : The Ultimate Phrase Finder to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas + More Words That Sell
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 2 edition (April 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071467858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071467858
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Bayan spent over two decades as an award-winning advertising copywriter and copy chief. He is the author of three other books, including the companion to this book, More Words That Sell.

More About the Author

You can contact me directly via my professional website,

I was born in New Brunswick, NJ, and raised there during the idyllic 1950s and '60s. After graduating from Rutgers with a degree in history, I picked up a master's in journalism from the University of Illinois. I worked briefly for a couple of trade magazines and Time-Life Books, then found my professional calling as an advertising copywriter -- first at Barron's and later at Day-Timers, where I served as copy chief from 1985 through 1999.

While at Barron's I wrote my first book, Words That Sell, a copywriter's thesaurus that quickly became a standard marketing reference. The Cynic's Dictionary followed ten years later. In 2003 I was asked to write a sequel to Words That Sell, and the result was (surprise!) More Words That Sell -- actually a very different book with a more targeted approach to selling. In 2006 I completed a major revision and expansion of the original Words That Sell.

I quit my day-job in 1999 and have been busy since then establishing myself as a freelance writer-consultant. My clients have ranged from Louis Borders (co-founder of Borders Books) to a small art cinema in Allentown, PA.

In 2007 I launched a political blog called The New Moderate ( in a valiant (but probably doomed) attempt to bridge the gap between the battling "red" and "blue" camps in the U.S.

My first collection of grimly humorous essays, Extremely Dark Chocolates, appeared as a Kindle e-book in November 2014. Two more collections will follow in early 2015: Lifestyles of the Doomed, and The World Is My Obstacle Course.

I live in a quaint, tree-shaded, 115-year-old former livery stable in Philadelphia with my young son and a middle-aged cat. I'm available for freelance projects or contract work. Wish me luck (and buy my books!).

Customer Reviews

I have used this book in all its editions, since 1984.
Anyone who writes sales copy will find this book a useful addition to his or her desk reference library.
Kennith Caudill
For those of us who sometimes draw a blank finding just that right descriptive word, this is THE book.
D. Wells

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Roger Bauer on February 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recently I bought this book and immediately made some textual changes to my company website based upon the contents of this and "Hot Button Marketing" by Barry Feig. The two mixed together have already begun to pay dividends in terms of conversions of visitors into prospects which will lead to customers and/or partners.

The lessons I learned as I read some of the material:

1) You may believe you're using the right words to sell (as I did prior to reading over the book), but there are always improvements that can be made.

2) Have fun--if your current campaign isn't working as well as you'd like, tweak the copy by using some of the suggestions in this book to see if a different word sprinkled in here and there improves things. It's interesting to see what a little change can do as enough of them can add up to one big success over time.

In a nutshell, this book is a great reference to have handy regardless of what you're selling.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dan Poynter VINE VOICE on October 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite references. Whenever I have to draft copy, I page through it for ideas. To sell your product (in my case books), you have to describe it in (glowing) terms that relate to the needs of the potential buyer.
Bayan describes Grabbers (heads, salutations, invitations, openings, transitions), Descriptions and Benefits, Clinchers (persuasion and decision), Terms & Offers (discounts, freebies, trials, guarantees), and Special Strategies (company image, justifying a high price, knocking the competition, using demographics, flattering the reader, and appealing for contributions). Each section has pages of suggested phrasing. The appendix contains puffspeak-and its alternatives, wordy expressions, commonly confused words and more. This is not a book you read; it is a quick reference.
Richard Bayan is a full-time copywriter who shares his collection of WORDS THAT SELL in these pages.
As the author of 113 books (including revisions and foreign-language editions) and over 500 magazine articles, I highly recommend this volume to book publishers.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
     The Internet has presented opportunities for many people to market their products, services, and other information. Because many desire to generate an income or provide essential services online, it is imperative that Web developers, online business owners, and others present themselves in the best possible light.      Richard Bayan has produced Words That Sell to provide us with a treasury of gripping words we need to effectively promote ourselves in whatever marketing circumstances we find ourselves in. This book lists over 2,500 high-powered words, phrases, and slogans that will grab the attention of our audiences. After a brief primer on writing in which the author lays down basic writing principles, readers are free to comb through the book to find the words they need to make a big difference in the way they communicate with others.      The range of categories includes topics relating to message crafting and the fulfillment of our basic felt needs, expectations, and sensory qualities. Categories include headers, slogans, salutations, appeals, challenges, clinchers, grabbers, invitations, persuasion, questions, services, statements, transitions, convenience, discounts, improvements, money-making, money-saving, peace of mind, pleasure, reliability, satisfaction, excitement, experience, and more. There are words in this book for every need!      Although this book was written a number of years ago (1984), it is still available and is an essential tool for meeting a variety of marketing needs. It is extremely easy to put to use and will result in a dynamic improvement in the way we present ourselves to others. You have my new selection of words on it!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Harinath Thummalapalli on November 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I was looking for a title for this review, the word that came to mind was 'Indispensable' but I felt it was too cliche to use for this purpose. So I opened up the index of this book, looked up 'indispensable', went to page 38 and looked down the list of expressions till I found the title I felt comfortable with!
That's how this book is meant to be used. If you are writing copy for any type of advertising or promotional purposes, you will find this 'Thesaurus' style book very handy. This isn't strictly a thesaurus since the words in each section aren't necessarily synonyms but more like related words. If you are new to the world of copy writing, 'copy' generally refers to any type of writing associated with sales material. For example, when you read an advertisement for a soft drink, the art of writing the ad is called 'copy writing'.
You can find other uses for the content in this book as I did above with the title for this review. But in general, most people use this book to come up with writing that is compelling enough for the reader to perform the intended action whatever that action happens to be.
The book is split into 6 sections - Grabbers, Descriptions and Benefits, Clinchers, Terms & Offers, Special Strategies, and an Appendix containing miscellaneous sections. There is a 2 page copywriting primer included that has 8 tips to learn before you start writing copy. The Appendix has several miscellaneous topics like 'Categories of Copy', 'Puffspeak - And Its Alternative', 'Wordy Expressions', 'Commonly Misspelled Words', 'Commonly Confused Words', 'Selling Yourself', 'Sample Order Forms', and 'Further Reading'.
The book is filled with pages and pages of words and in some cases expressions that are categorized into different headings under each chapter.
Read more ›
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