Pakka Ghostwriting


Only some people have the time to write or are confident putting their thoughts on paper, probably because they have been too busy. Most professionals and corporate leaders come into this group, even if they all have fantastic stories to share. We recently did a book with a doctor with several years of experience. It was fascinating—the history, the characters, hospital politics, compassion, dedication, accomplishment and the partying. We didn’t know doctors had such exciting lives!

A ghostwriter (ghost) is a professional who writes a book or article for which someone else will be credited. This acknowledged author (author) offers the ideas and points for the narrative and employs the ghostwriter to turn it into a book, such as a biography, non-fiction or fictional work. Although the ghost is responsible for the writing, it will be credited to the author with the final say on all drafts and edits. The ghostwriter will only be acknowledged in the finished book if requested explicitly by the author and agreed upon by the former.


Writing a book is complex enough, and ghostwriting is even more complicated, as the writer must meet the goals and expectations of another person and even assume their voice and tone. You'll need to pay a premium for an experienced ghostwriter.  And less for a less experienced one.

Pricing must know the end-product specification to be possible. Biographies are our forte. The price would generally boil down to the number of pages and words or will be a lump-sum fee. Most authors prefer the lump sum fee to plan the budget for their book. Payments are usually in three tranches: 40% on commission, 30% on completion of the initial draft, and the rest on completion of the final draft. The final output could be an entire book or an article.

Ghostwriting itself does not include publishing. At PAKKA, we prefer to keep these two separate. But, of course, if the author wants a quote for both together, that can also be arranged.

At PAKKA, we work with professional publishers, editors and writers, each with more than 20-year track records in producing world-class books. (Please ask to see samples.)

Contact us with your requirements, and we’ll find a solution. We’ll only need to sit and talk.


The Interviews: The most crucial part of ghostwriting is understanding the material. What does the author want to be written? So, before we dive into a piece, it's essential to talk to the person we're ghostwriting for and discuss the topic in depth: it might be an autobiography or a biography of someone else, work or research-related experiences; it would be a story the author wants to tell. Professionals often speak in jargon, and it’s the job of the ghost to say it in plain English.

Interviews are best done in person to take down all the essential details they want to be covered and also to study the mannerisms and body language of the client to allow the narrative to come alive — and not sound mechanical. It is essential to understand the person, the human behind the story. This will help us write the story naturally, as though written by them.

Understanding the Voice:  Taking the point further, a face-to-face interview with the client will help the ghost get a sense of their voice and create a distinct style and tone according to the author’s preference

That’s another reason to avoid telephone interviews: to get a sense of how they talk or present their thoughts, the ambience, the respect they show others and others to them, basically to give a human perspective of the subject.

Themes:  During the first meeting, the ghost must think about the narrative and structure of the story.

It's essential to meet with the author at the beginning of the project and talk about what they want written and how. This will be the author’s chance to share their brilliance and unfiltered thoughts. And the job of the ghost is to identify themes, vital phrases and speech patterns and the potential narrative. This is also an opportunity to get a feel for how the author approaches communicating and how to represent their voice.

Flexibility: Authors who use ghosts usually do so because they’re busy, so when it’s not always possible to meet often (after the initial discussion). In such cases, the ghost might request a recorded voice memo or some notes jotted in a document.

In all cases, the author must read and approve the draft.


Once you have an idea what your book is about and what you want to do with it after it’s written and budgeted, you should contact ghostwriters. An email is the best first approach to assess their interest and availability and for preliminary discussions.  Then move for a formal meeting to see some of the ghost’s past work.

You must trust your ghostwriter because you will tell them many things, as you might tell your doctor, therapist or lawyer. (So, sign a confidentiality agreement.)

If anything about them makes you uncomfortable, look for another ghost.


The ghost will sit with you and record your whole story from start to finish.  However, any written material you can give them in advance will help speed things along by guiding their questioning.

Meet the ghost somewhere where you’re comfortable! Your home or workplace is the best, but a ghost will go wherever you ask if it is reasonably quiet. (The assumption is that that’ll be in the Klang Valley; otherwise, additional transport and accommodation charges may apply.)

Ideally, the ghost will spend a few days recording the conversation. The ghost will then go away and write the first draft. You’ll then meet again, at which point you’ll tell the ghost where he’s gone wrong and whether he has misunderstood you or missed out on facts or if you forgot to tell him something at the first meeting. Then he’ll work on the final version.

In reality, it could take a few journeys back and forth before the manuscript is good.  If you’d be more comfortable with the ghost showing you a chapter or two at a time, tell him in writing at the beginning (preferably in an email).

You need to find a way of working which makes both of you comfortable for a good manuscript.



PAKKA Publishing Overview
PAKKA Publishing Solutions
Why Self-Publish
A Guide to Book Publishing
Traditional Publishing
Self-Publishing Online
DIY Publishing
The New PAKKA Solution


Writing Books
Writing Biographies
Write and Publish Poetry
Write a Selfhelp Book
PAKKA Ghostwriting



PAKKA Editing Services


Glossary of Publishing Terms