My name is Michael Golvach. I am an author of fiction (Available on Amazon.com). I'm divorced and work to support my ex-wife and son through freelance writing and IT consulting work.
I've intentionally BOLDED sections so you can skip any you don't deem relevant or worth reading. Please see the BREAKDOWN OF COSTS section for the reason for the dollar goal of this campaign, what it will pay for and what it will NOT pay for.
Also, there's a small section on WHAT I PLAN TO DO WITH YOUR DONATIONS WHILE I CONTINUE TO WORK TO ENSURE THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.
Then check out the POSSIBLE PERKS (only POSSIBLE in the sense that you aren't required to pick one) section for things I may be able to do for you in return for your donation (And I can definitely do them, I just mean that you may or may not be interested).
THE INITIAL SITUATION:
After having had relatively decent success making ends meet since I branched out to work for myself on June 8th of 2015, I learned a hard lesson. In April of 2016, I fell victim to multiple hardships and taught me some valuable lessons.
THE HARDSHIPS I ENDURED WERE THESE (all in the same week):
1. Doing a freelance writing job on spec, for which the work was delivered and no payment was received. As of now, the phone number associated with the person I was doing business with is no longer in service and his email has been shut down. That lesson cost me $2,400 dollars and a lot of time. This was the first time I've not been paid for my work.
2. Doing freelance work, assuming payment would clear, delivering said work and then having the check go all rubbery. Not fraud, but a bad check. That lesson cost me another $3,000.
3. In desperation (which is a mode I don't normally act out of), I tried to secure a short term loan. That lender deposited a forged check into my account. When she called me the next day and told me that the loan paper's were not ready to sign and that the check she deposited was for loan insurance that I would need to pay back to her through iTunes gift cards, I immediately got online and viewed the check. It wasn't from California, where the loan company supposedly exists. It was from the payroll of a school in Louisiana and had my - very obviously - forged signature on the back. I immediately reported the incident to my bank, which turned into a 2 day trial which consisted mostly of me having to close all of my bank accounts, open new ones and fight corporate red-tape so that I wouldn't be charged thousands in fees for depositing a fraudulent check into my account, which I didn't do. The lender whom - if they ever find her or whatever bogus company she works for - is currently being investigated by two banks, the local police, FBI, FCC and FTC for multiple interstate banking and fraud violations.
THE LESSONS I LEARNED WERE THESE:
1. I've been luckier than most people working in freelance writing for quite a while. Trust (while it's a noble virtue) is fodder for scammers. I will never do work on spec, or before payment is received and cleared, ever again.
2. Knowing what I know now (working for myself for, essentially, the first time in my life), I realise that I need to have backup funds set aside. With the help of this campaign, I hope to achieve that and, in return, provide all donators with something valuable in return (see farther down the page)
3. Although you will most definitely (I assume) be penalised monetarily (by both the bank and fraudsters) if you get scammed by loan fraud, you will probably also be penalised for doing the right thing and not taking money from someone to whom it rightly belongs. If you find yourself in this situation and need some help or advice with regards to going after anyone who attempts to defraud you, I may be able to give you some good solid advice to get you started.
WHERE I AM NOW:
I'm currently working on other projects (all writing at present, but always on the look out for short term IT projects) for people I know and trust and who have not as yet paid me. While this is good news, I won't get paid for quite a while and am in risk of missing making CHILD SUPPORT and SPOUSAL SUPPORT payments (and associated costs - laid out below) for the first time in over 4 years.
BREAKDOWN OF COSTS (Goal set for two months of backup):
Although I don't believe it would be right to advertise the individual amounts separately, this is what I pay out, in total, every month, and what this campaign is about:
$5,256.34 per month.
2 x Child support payments
2 x Spousal support payments
Life Insurance on myself for my son, should I die
Health Insurance for my son
841 Dollars in Fees (Gofundme + WePay) for this campaign
This DOES NOT include:
Any incidental expenses incurred when I have my son for visitation.
Any of my utilities
Any of my other debt (credit card, car insurance, Internet, gas, electricity, etc)
Essentially, this fund ONLY exists to create a backup for the support of my son and ex-wife. And, if you're wondering, I'm happy to pay for my ex-wife's support. She gave up a career in IT to become a stay-at-home mother when we were married and began schooling to get her Masters Degree so she could get a job doing what she wanted afterward. I consider my support of her voluntary (even though it is, technically, court-decreed), since she sacrificed her career for our family while she and I were still married.
WHAT I PLAN TO DO WITH YOUR DONATIONS WHILE I CONTINUE TO WORK TO ENSURE THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN:
To repeat something you may have read already, I'm currently working on other projects (all writing at present, but always on the look out for short term IT projects) for people I know and trust and who have not as yet paid me.
While this is good news, I won't get paid for quite a while. And, although I clearly stated above that my policy, going forward will be to change this way of doing business, I can't impose new rules on existing clients mid-project.
I will, however, be imposing this new payment demand on any and all future jobs that I do for individuals who can't guarantee the funds through some other legitimate means.
And that's where I'm presently at. Scrambling to rob Peter to pay Paul. Doing what I can to pay this bill and that bill and working on payment arrangements should the worst happen.
With your help, I will be using your donations to pay for my son and ex-wife's immediate needs while continuing to do my job and earn an income. I will also be using all funds I make to start building a buffer equal to the amount of two months worth of payments (The monetary goal of this cause is actually $10,512.68, but they wouldn't let me enter any cents, so I rounded up).
Although donations without obligation or condition are, naturally, accepted, I would like to offer you some things, in addition. I hope to be able to help you, while you help me recover financially, by offering the following incentives, or perks.
1. Any IT work you need. I'm obviously limited to what I know, but will attach my IT resume to this campaign if possible. If not, I can mail it to anyone who requests it. I mainly work on Unix and Linux operating systems (20+ years of sysadmin experience under my belt), but I also do odd website maintenance, security hardening, etc. I wear many hats. My going rate is $45-$55/hour, depending upon the type of work. I will work anywhere in the world, assuming I can be given access to there from my apartment in Illinois. I work any hours that work for my clients. Tell your friends :)
IF YOU ARE A CONTRIBUTOR/DONATOR TO THIS CAMPAIGN, I will set my fee at the low end of $45/hour regardless of the type of work. I will also be open to working with you on a lower price per hour if you need my services but are experiencing financial hardship yourself that would make it impossible to meet my rate.
2. Simple Copy-Editing at the rate of $0.01/word (penny per word = 80,000 word novel costs 800 dollars). This includes proof-reading for consistency (pick your Style Manual), spelling, grammar, grammar usage and content editing & correlation where necessary (If Sally has red hair at the beginning and she suddenly has brown hair in the middle of your story, I'll find those little inconsistencies for you. I'm assuming Sally doesn't get a dye-job at any point, of course). As a practice, I return all "fixed" documentations with "change notations" (built into MS Word or OpenOffice Writer) so that you may accept or reject my changes and/or, at the very least, know what's been changed and why.
IF YOU ARE A CONTRIBUTOR/DONATOR TO THIS CAMPAIGN, I will do this work for HALF-PRICE (1/2 penny per word = 80,000 word novel costs 400 dollars)
3. Ghostwriting at the rates of (numbers shown are for equal comparison with editing rates. I'd advise that no one without considerable throw-away money have a full length novel ghostwritten for them. Stick to shorter stuff, like short stories or reports. I charge on the very low end. Ghostwriting fees - with credit - average $1.65 per word and have a general high end of $3 per word):
NOTE: My Ghostwriting fee includes simple copy editing (perk number 2). It does not include line editing or come with any other unbelievable guarantees like, if I write down your ideas, they'll become a best seller.
a) $0.25/word with minimal writing credit for me, with a $1000 low (25 cents per word = 80,000 word novel costs $20,000 dollars)
b) $0.50/word with no writing credit for me and a $2,000 low. Like you wrote it yourself. I'll never tell. I sign a contract that says so, so you can sue me if I ever open my mouth (50 cents per word = 80,000 word novel costs $40,000 dollars)
IF YOU ARE A CONTRIBUTOR/DONATOR TO THIS CAMPAIGN, I will do this work for HALF-PRICE (and/or negotiate a lower price per word - and lower base charge - if you have some work you need done and we can reach an equitable agreement)
4. Anything you can think of that I might be able to do for you, that I haven't listed here. I'm open to suggestions. I'm perfectly happy to work all day and night. I would sing for my supper, but that would probably get me arrested.
5. Your money back. If you'd prefer, we can have a contract written up whereby I pay you back what you donate when I have the funds I need. This campaign isn't about taking and never giving back, and if I have no services I can provide you to compensate for your donation, I can always repay you. Just, per my advice from lessons learned (above), let's be sure to sign a separate contract enforcing said repayment. It's good for me and it's good for you!
With your help, I can get out of my current state of emergency and begin building a more solid and stable future for my son, ex-wife and myself. I appreciate all the love and support you can muster.
We all make mistakes, and sometimes they're bigger than we ever thought they could be. And, though it's hard to do (at least for me), it's okay to ask for help, so thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, for taking the time to read this, and if you can contribute, it would be very helpful and very deeply appreciated.
Even if you cannot contribute, please share this on Facebook or Twitter or whatever social media you use
Thank you very much,
- Sergei Galperin
- Daniel Remington