SongFlag’s Recommended Songwriting Books

Songwriting Books

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my DISCLOSURE for more info. 

By Robin Frederick 

126 Shortcuts that will take your songs from good to great! Discover the melody and lyric writing techniques of today’s top songwriters and learn how you can use the very same secrets to give your songs the power and edge that will make listeners want to hear them over and over again. 

By Jimmy Webb 

Webb brings his insider’s knowledge, experience, and star power to the ultimate guide for aspiring songwriters. With a combination of anecdotes, meditation, and advice, he breaks down the creative process from beginning to end–from coping with writer’s block, to song construction, chords, and even self-promotion. Webb also gives readers a glimpse into the professional music world.

By Paul Zollo

In Songwriters On Songwriting, sixty-two of the greatest songwriters of our time go straight to the source of the magic of songwriting by offering their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on their art. Representing almost every genre of popular music, from blues to pop to rock, here are the figures that have shaped American music as we know it.

By Jason Blume

Six Steps to Songwriting Success presents a surefire step-by-step approach to mastering the elements consistently found in hit songs. Author Jason Blume, a songwriter with the rare distinction of having had songs on the Country, Pop, and R&B charts simultaneously, has packed this book with such key aids as the three-step lyric writing technique used by the pros; lyric, melody, and demo checklists; and tools for self-evaluation–plus many other exercises that work.

By Pat Pattison 

Writing Better Lyrics has been a staple for songwriters for nearly two decades. Now this revised and updated 2nd Edition provides effective tools for everything from generating ideas, to understanding the form and function of a song, to fine-tuning lyrics.

By Susan Tucker

In The Secrets of Songwriting Fifteen of United States’ most talented tune-smiths give personal accounts of how they create their works, what their songs mean to them, and how they keep their creativity flowing. Topics covered during the 54-question interviews range from personal sources of inspiration, notions of creativity, and the various stages of the writing process to the pros and cons of co-writing, the taming of the inner critic, and the challenges of a song writing career. Readers will find advice on how to nurture their creative thinking, develop a healthy balance between creative work and personal life, and find their unique voice in the songwriting world.

By Stephen Citron

“SONGWRITING is a standard data source for professional tunesmiths and their hopeful brethren. It expertly conveys the process from concept to copyright with appropriate references to currently popular songs.”

By Dave Austin, Jim Peters & Cathy Lynn Austin

This friendly, hands-on guide tackles the new face of the recording industry, guiding you through the shift from traditional sales to downloads and mobile music, as well as how you can harness social media networks to get your music “out there.” You get basic songwriting concepts, insider tips and advice, and inspiration for writing ― and selling ― meaningful, timeless songs.

By C.J. Watson

The Everything Songwriting Book provides amateurs and seasoned professionals alike all they need to create, perform, and sell hit songs. Learn how to develop an idea, formulate a rhyme scheme, incorporate unique phrasing, and follow through to the final note. Professional songwriter and consultant C.J. Watson packs this book with clever tips and tricks for overcoming writer’s block, creating a “hook,” and recording and selling a song to a recording company or performer.

By Gary Ewer

The Essential Secrets of Songwriting has everything you need to become a great. songwriter: why song form is so important; how a great hook works; writing intros and outros; how to create chord progressions that work and a lot more. 


By Danny Cope 

This book gives both aspiring and seasoned songwriters a powerful new approach to writing songs, focusing on common obstacles in the songwriting process and techniques to help songwriters overcome them. Each chapter goes to the root of a specific songwriting problem and provides exercises to help readers over the hurdles and put their new skills to work. Topics include writing approach, purpose, structure, melodic significance and construction, basic music theory, word meaning, word design and arrangement, chords, and how they are all pieced together.

By Casey Kelly, David Hodge 

This is a great book fro. beginning songwriters. I covers topics such as:  how to create melodies; how to create many different harmonies;Techniques using deliberate rhythm and stylistic changes;How to enable one’s songwriting to grow and evolve and much more.

By David Alzofon *

“Compose Yourself” also derives from a two-year project researching and arranging the “most memorable” parts of over 2,000 Billboard Top-Ten songs, and years spent in testing the course material with students ranging in age from 9 to 80 years of age. The author writes “Measure for Measure” — a bimonthly column for American Songwriter magazine that plumbs the depths of songwriting techniques, often with illustrations from the songs of Lennon & McCartney (“The Beatles,” Paperback Songs, published by Hal Leonard, is recommended for scores of the songs discussed).

By Bill DeMain 

Full of trivia, wisdom, and fascinating revelations from such figures as Tori Amos, Burt Bacharach, David Bowie, Sarah McLachlan, Billy Joel, and John Mayer, In Their Own Words shines a light on what is often and inherently lonely craft. It gives readers a glimpse into a mysterious process and offes rising songwriters a wealth of advice from those who have spent decades successfully sharing their work with the public.

By Simon Hawkins *

In Song Maps Simon Hawkins provides you with a new system to write better lyrics. He delivers simple, logical, well-defined solutions to these issues and more: he gives you seven well-developed professional templates for you to bring your lyrics to life. He also provides you with a tried and tested process for writing lyrics using Song Maps.  

By John Braheny 

In the Craft & Business of Songwriting John Braheny teaches you the craft of songwriting and then goes behind the scenes of the music business to unearth insider secrets that will make your songs stand out. You’ll find exercises and anecdotes to help you.

By Julia Cameron

In the Julia Cameron presents an exciting method for artists to recover their creativity from limiting beliefs, self-sabotage, inattention, fear, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other forces that inhibit the creative process.

Music Production Books

By Jason Timothy *

The goal of this book, is to cover music production from many different angles in a way that will change your thinking on the subject and build your confidence.

Music making is a very mental and psychological game, and more often than not, all the technical stuff can hold you back from achieving your goals if you don’t have the right creative habits in place first.

Leave a Comment