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

A ghostwriter (ghost) is a professional employed to write 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 who has the final say on all drafts and edits. The ghostwriter will not be acknowledged in the final book unless specifically requested by the author and agreed 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. Expect to pay a premium for an experienced ghostwriter.  And less for a less experienced one.

Pricing without knowing the end-product specification is difficult. Biographies are our forte. The price would normally boil down to the number of pages, words or will be a lump-sum fee. Most authors prefer the lump sum fee, so they can plan the budget for their book. Payments are usually in three tranches: 40% on commission, 30% on completion of initial draft, and the rest on completion of the final draft. The final output could be an entire book or an article.

Please note: 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 be arranged as well.

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

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


The Interviews: The most important part of ghostwriting is understanding the material. What does the author want written? So, before we dive into a piece, it's important 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 key details they want 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 important 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 interview: 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 present a human perspective of the subject.

Themes:  During the first meeting, it's important for the ghost to think about the narrative and structure of the story.

It's important to meet with the author at the beginning of the project and talk about what he or she wants written and how. This will be the author’s chance to share their brilliance and their unfiltered thoughts. And the job of the ghost is to identify themes, strong 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 for a recorded voice memo or even some notes jotted in a document.

In all cases, the draft must be read and approved by the author.


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

You're going to need to trust your ghostwriter because you will be telling them many things, as you might tell your doctor, your therapist or your 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.  Any written material that you can give them in advance, however, 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 as long as it is reasonably quiet. (The assumption is that this’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 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, then tell him at the beginning in writing (preferably in an email).

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


Pakka publishing solutions


A guide to book publishing

Pro-con-traditional publishing

Pro-con-self-pub online publishing providers

Pro-con-diy publishing

Pro-con-Pakka Assited DIY

Pakka editing services

Pakka ghostwriting

Glossary of publishing terms