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By Susie Poppick
October 29, 2014
Money (photo illustration)—iStock (book); Joseph Desire Court/DEA/A. DAGLI ORTI/Getty Images (cover)

Tracy Chevalier, author of the 1999 novel-cum-Scarlett-Johansson-flick Girl With a Pearl Earring, is one of seventeen authors auctioning off character names for upcoming novels—not to pay for giant-mansion-hiding hedges—but to fund therapy for survivors of torture living in the U.K.

Other authors participating include Margaret Atwood, Ken Follett, Julian Barnes, Pat Barker, Ian McEwan, Robert Harris, Will Self, and Zadie Smith.

The November 20 auction is for books in the works (so no, you can’t actually be Johan Vermeer’s fictional servant this time) and you can start bidding today.

Chevalier says she auctioned off the name of a minor character in a book for £800 (about $1,300) last year but would require a bigger donation—to the tune of $10,000— for a main character.

No matter how generous the donation, however, it’s important your name isn’t already famous for other reasons. “It’s not going to work if you’re Bill Gates,” Chevalier says.

This isn’t the first time authors have used a similar stunt for charity: Stephen King, John Grisham, Dave Eggers, and Game of Thrones author George RR Martin have all done the same for causes including a wolf sanctuary and food charity.

The Kardashians did not respond to requests for comment on how much it would cost to star in the next edition of gaming app Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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