I am an aspiring author who wants to write a novel and have it published. Problem is that I am disabled and receive benefits, so I can't receive royalties because the income stream is unpredictable and could jeopardize them. I have had thoughts of writing anyway on a socially conscious topic that could benefit the world somehow by way of my contribution. Do people do that (and are there examples)? Does anyone know of a charity or an organization that would welcome a socially conscious novel?
I am not a lawyer,
but I would ask a lawyer about the following route to avoid your problem.
I am pretty certain (because I have disabled relatives) that you CAN earn a certain amount of money that does not endanger your disability payments; in the thousands.
Thus (in America at least):
- Write your novel.
- Get accepted by an agent.
- Discuss what you are doing with your agent after they agree to represent you, not before. Namely you want any contract to be transferable to an LLC or charity you will form with any advance on the sale.
- Use your advance to form an LLC or charity (typically $500-$1500 in legal fees to register something like that, depending on your State).
- As the sole principle of the LLC, you decide what is done with any money it earns. You can pay yourself the annual limit of what you are allowed to earn, and you can hold the rest in reserve, or donate it to charities, etc.
The basic idea is that the LLC is an independent "person", any income it has belongs to it until it is distributed. You let the LLC own your book and rights. Whatever it distributes to you is your income. And you control the LLC, so you can control your income to the penny (presuming your book is earning something). You can also keep any excess in reserve (the LLC can pay taxes on it separately and is not required to distribute funds). If after taxes you wish to contribute to charity, let the LLC do that in its own name.
As I said, I am not a lawyer! But I have been in a dozen LLCs dealing with large amounts of money and with professional legal advice on arranging them. As a layman, I believe this is possible.
So you would take this idea to a lawyer and get their advice on whether it is viable. In particular I would tell a legal novice to look into the products of Legal Zoom (I have no stake or stock in that company), and they have products to provide affordable legal advice complying with your State laws, and form such an LLC (or perhaps charity) for (I am guessing) the range of $500 to $1500, which you could do with a typical advance. And you would only need to do all this one time, if you wrote multiple books.
On top of Amadeus's idea, I would investigate whether you could achieve what you want with some kind of trust, probably a special needs trust. You should seek local legal advice if this is something you want to explore.