How should I respond to this?
I got this email today. I'm not sure what to think of it. Sounds like someone looking for cheap fast work. But then again might be legit? Hard to quote something like this any advice? This is the email:
Message: William, I am looking for an illustrator who can create some drawings about a pigeon. This is for a personal book, not something to be published. Here is the story. My 90 yr old mom has become bedridden and is at home in NY. (I live in FL) During my last visit I found a small story she had written in 1998 about a pigeon she saved from a nest, whom she named Rufino. When Rufino’s eyes opened he thought my mother was his mother and it became an adorable, yet true, story. I typed it up and want to get it illustrated somehow. It can just be b/w line art.
I got a call at 11:30 last night that my mom was back in the hospital so I feel I have to move quickly on this. I want her to know that all the children in the family will have a copy of her book. Your work is beautiful but you don't even need to make the drawings so detailed. Even if you could just do line drawings it would work to get a book in her hands. I spoke to her today and told her I was going to create a book out of it and she started to cry so hard she could not speak. Can you help and if so, how much does this usually cost
It sounds legit due to the specifics of the details and language. I'd give them a quote and see where it goes (provided you want to do it). Just get paid up for each stage of the project. Do not do any work without money in hand and a contract.
@Lee-White beat me to posting, but here is what I wrote:
If this is something you are interested in, then get a more detailed scope of work along with any timeline & budgetary considerations.
With this client, I’d be sure to take money up front (in part or in total) and I would be very clear that the time to develop is firm (if you are interested in going faster, then there should be increased charges for such).
Also, before work starts, make sure you have a signed contract detailing expectations of both parties. In particular, you will want to retain ownership and strictly limit the usage of the work to X copies for personal, non-commercial use, etc. And be sure to have a kill-fee or some other contract dissolution scenario addressed.
If they don’t want to pay money up front nor sign a contract… Game over. Walk away.
If you are in the midst and begin to rush you, stand firm. Their hurries & burdens should not come at your expense.
If you don’t want to do this, then simply express your condolences (if you wish to), decline the project (“I’m unable to do this work at this time” or “I have other immediate priorities that will prevent me from taking on this project”), and wish them the best of luck in finding another to do the work.
btw, the reason I mentioned about limited usage (particularly "Non-commercial use") is so that if this is not legit but some sort of ruse to play on your emotions and get cheap, quick work, you will have cut that off ahead of time.
Thank you very much. I submitted a quote and I'll see what happens.