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?

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    This is more of a legal question, namely whether you can have all "you" earn from something go to another recipient without it counting as part of "your" income, as defined with respect to eligibility for benefits. Even if a lawyer were here, they'd need to know more (e.g. which benefits in which region?) before they could help. I'd try law.SE with some more detail.
    – J.G.
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 6:18
  • No, its not a legal question. I was noting the circumstances, but my question, again, is there are a charitable cause or organization that could use a socially conscious novel (for free)?
    – user9885
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 12:49
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    You could write anyway, and just make your work available for free on the internet. I do know webcomics sometimes use their popularity to collect money for a charity. You could do the same. Commented May 27, 2018 at 13:33
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    your local food bank, homeless shelter, outreach program etc would accept any donations including such probably inconsistent as you would get from this, but if you were looking for some nation wide one the novel would have to be compatible with their 'mission'. The Red Cross wouldn't want to be associated with a novel that has a volunteer who embezzles money from those they are sent to help, etc. Write first, worry about publication later given how difficult that is anyways.
    – Seserous
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 14:22
  • I don't know the answer to your questions but the idea of marginalized voices as authors has a lot of traction right now and many agents seem to be seeking stories from diverse experience, to raise awareness of said experience. Disability falls under that umbrella. I suggest you write the story - you can self publish it at cost (no income) and dedicate it to the charity of your choice.
    – SFWriter
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 19:19

2 Answers 2


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):

  1. Write your novel.
  2. Get accepted by an agent.
  3. 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.
  4. Use your advance to form an LLC or charity (typically $500-$1500 in legal fees to register something like that, depending on your State).
  5. 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.

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