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Art of freedom: Self-published authors who made millions

Being an author entails hard work and intense dedication. Before becoming successful, they often need to deal with several challenges and break barriers. From submitting their work to their editor alone, for example, they need to write tens to hundreds of thousands of words and mold it into an interesting story. During the entire process, they are faced with pitfalls such as writer’s block and diminished productivity.

When they do finish their work, it still isn’t guaranteed that they’ll be making money off of it. Their fate is literally dependent on whether or not the public will view it favorably. However, despite the countless trials, some authors were able to make a name for themselves and millions of dollars in the process. More interestingly, a few of them were self-published and didn’t rely on the help of any major publishing house!



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One name in this category which will continually pop up is Amanda Hocking. She is one of the first authors who was able to make millions by self-publishing and independently selling e-books. Some of her most famous works include the ‘My Blood Approves’ series and the ‘Trylle’ trilogy.


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Another impressive self-published author goes by the name of Hugh Howey. Before writing dystopian sci-fi trilogies, he was creating short stories. After adding more content to his masterpieces, he then decided to publish them through Kindle’s Direct Publishing system. He became a huge hit and rose in popularity.


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Many might not know but E.L James herself was a self-published author, with her ‘50 Shades of Grey’ novels reaching the top of many best-seller lists. The trilogy actually started as a fan fic of Twilight which was published online. One thing led to another, and a whole new world of eroticism was born.


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Today’s age of e-books and self-publishing platforms (such as CreateSpace, Lulu, and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing) has made it possible for almost anyone to become an author without the need for a traditional publisher or literary agent. It might require heavy promotional efforts but rewards (especially on the financial side) can be potentially lucrative (as authors tend to get higher cut on each work sold as compared to royalties they earn from a conventional publishing setup).

REPOST: Pigcasso: The pig creating art that sells for thousands

Can animals really make masterpieces? This pig certainly can and her works may even soon be featured in a Paris or New York art gallery. ITV has the full story:


A pig that was saved from a slaughterhouse now spends her days creating artworks that sell for up to $2,000 (£1,600).

Aptly named Pigcasso after her namesake Picasso, she started painting in October last year.

She now has her own art gallery, with art collectors describing her pieces as “abstract”.


Pigcasso spends her time on the South African farm creating artwork. Credit: APTN


The sow was brought to the South African animal sanctuary where she now lives when she was a piglet.

The manager of the sanctuary Joanne Lefson, who rescued Pigcasso, says she first noticed the sow’s talent when she placed some balls and paintbrushes in her pen to play with.

“It wasn’t long before I discovered that she really liked the bristles and the paintbrush for some reason. And it was just a case of nurturing that talent,” she said.

The artwork, some of which now hangs in Pigcasso’s very own art gallery on the farm, has sold for prices ranging from $280 to $2,000.

The funds raised from art sales go towards the South African Farm Sanctuary, a haven for rescued farm animals.

Continue reading HERE.

Beyond aesthetics: Art as an alternative investment

Most investments available to regular investors today are usually paper assets—representations of ownership of an asset, such as a stock, bond, or money market account. They generate portfolio income, but their value or prices can fluctuate drastically depending on market conditions. They are in direct contrast to hard assets, which contain actual value in the nature of the item itself. They include precious metals (particularly gold and silver), diamonds, oil, real estate, and even artworks!


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Monetizing art is often considered an alternative investment. It is very illiquid and to some extent, risky. However, it can be a great investment option for people willing to put their money aside long-term.  Artworks, especially those created by established artists, are highly valuable. Their prices generally increase by age, but some can instantly be priced at the higher end of the spectrum if they were created by a famous personality. In some cases, valuable artworks (in all forms) may be found right in the attic: an antique wardrobe, pre-war photographs, a decades-old Chinese vase, or a painting bought many years ago and whose creator is now popular.


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Works of art’s prices are highly unpredictable. While they may generally increase over time, there is no guarantee that they could outperform stock indexes, for example. Most sales are conducted through private dealers and auctions are the most popular venues, attended only by people with the highest interest for such niche items. The best prices are given to those that were created by top artists—which include those that were virtually unknown while they were still alive but suddenly received considerable attention posthumous. Every work of art is unique, which means that it can create both opportunities and hazards for investors.


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Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to diversify one’s portfolio. A mixture of paper assets, currencies, real estate, and alternative investments can help one take advantage of the vast potential of these types of assets. As for works of art, however, investors should start with a genuine appreciation of the objects first before deciding to turn them into a platform to make money.


To get a professional advice regarding alternative investments, or if you wish to know more about investing as a whole, I recommend talking to an advisor at LOM Financial.

Art and business: Design as a key value differentiator

From website interfaces and company logos to digital graphics and magazine covers, design plays a crucial role in magnifying what a brand truly represents.  It is way beyond aesthetics or graphical outputs. In many cases, design is at the core of the business itself. Some companies grew tremendously just because of a small tweak in their logo; others managed to gain long-term success because of a major overhaul in their creative department. In the business world, a powerful design concept often converts to great profits


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We are at a point in time when visuals have become one of the most important aspects of promoting a brand. Design startups have grown to exponential levels and companies are striving for market superiority through ground-breaking business emblems, graphics, and other creative components of marketing. This is the age when art and design have become ‘capital assets,’ and some of today’s best design houses continue on redefining and revolutionizing standards while keeping product and service quality top-notch. Unsurprisingly, they have become very attractive to investors and investment companies, too.


The top design schools

Some of today’s best designers attended formal training and underwent professional mentorship. The likes of Stefan Sagmeister, Michael H. Riley, and Thomas Heatherwick received their design education from what are considered to be the most prestigious design institutions in the world.   According to QS World University Ranking, the top design schools include the Royal College of Art in London, the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab in Cambridge, and the Pratt Institute in New York. A diploma in any of these schools almost guarantees a beautiful career and a handsome paycheck.


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Design’s economic value

It is very difficult to measure how much impact a particular design can have on a specific product, service, campaign, or the company as a whole. It is something that cannot be expressed in numbers. However, the most innovative companies are also usually the leaders in design. Others who refuse to do the same (because it is something that cannot be clearly tied to high ROI) may fall behind. According to a study, design-driven companies have outperformed the S&P Index by 219 percent over past 10 years. Such companies include Airbnb, Apple, and Starbucks.


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Improved customer experience

Companies investing heavily in design are most likely to provide the most powerful customer experiences. The idea is to get customers’ attention, increase their engagement in a particular product or service, and motivate them to keep coming back. The ‘right’ design can help the business attain a clear understanding of the various ways that consumers engage with their brand—from brochures and TV advertisements to websites and social media. In other words, those that foster creativity may enjoy greater market share.

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Especially in this day and age of high consumption of digital products, design sits at the core of incredible brand experiences. Many companies are discovering that integrating great design into the business model and operations can significantly boost loyalty among customers, which can ultimately translate into desirable business results.


What You Need To Know About Passive Income Investment

One of the best ways in dealing with investment is to get a passive income out of it. But before you dive in to this matter, it is better if you’re more prepared, as you consider things such as your security, the profit you’re about to get and the last but not the least, liquidity.


Picking the right passive investment income has certain advantages, but you have to make sure that your money would be safe and that passive incomethe income you will be getting out of it would be stable. It is given that there would be changes in the growth of your money but it is all normal because it would depend on the economic status of your country, market condition and the like. But despite of all those changes, getting a passive investment income would assure you that your money is there and it won’t go anywhere that would cost you losses. This kind of investment is so far your best bet in the world of investing.


It is given that to profit from an investment is among the goal of an investor. When it comes to this matter, the higher the profit is the best possible thing to consider with passive income investment. But it is not always about gaining profit because your focus as an investor should be more on risk management.


This kind of investment also has a lot to do with liquidity. It is the process of withdrawing the money and profit that you have gained from your investment. But it is not just about that because this also involves how smooth the investment has been going before you could withdraw it.


You can have a passive investment income through funds coming from business, stocks and even properties in real estate. Allow me to break it down for you.


Expecting a passive income when you invest in any business is one of the wisest decisions you will make. There’s a little catch on it and it’s the fact that you might have to put a little (to a lot) work on it if you really want it to grow. Most people who chose to invest in a passive income potentialbusiness even decided to be really hands on with it. The trick to get a passive income from this type is to choosing the kind of business wisely. Make sure that it is already well established that getting your investment’s worth out of it is like getting royalties when you’re a famous musician or a TV star.


It may sound a little unrealistic for some, but it’s totally possible and doable. This is the part where getting a financial manager would help you speed up the process, as to what kind of business should you put your money into. If you don’t have the time to research for those types of businesses, then that’s what your manager could do for you. Stay tuned for more articles about investment because I’m here to deliver you a lot of things that would open your mind in this industry.


The Art Market in the Eyes of Day Trader

I trade a lot in the stock market and I’d like to think I have the stomach to face the usual risks involved in trading equities.  I’m actually more of a day trader, a momentum trader at that.  At the opening bell, I would already be on the lookout for any steep movements in price. If I find one that has gone up with significant volume in the first two hours of trading, that’s my target.  Feeling the momentum, fingers on the mouse, I try to buy at the right time, ideally at a price retracement point.  And then once it goes up a few fluctuations, I’m out. All in a day’s work.

But the market hasn’t been so friendly these past months. It’s actually a wreck right now.  We’re waiting for Santa Claus to bring in a rally.  I guess, he’s our only hope now because the Federal Reserve is just as desperate as us traders.

And so, I’m thinking, maybe it is possible for the art market to rally. Maybe I can make some money there.  That’s the news that has been going around since 2014.  The new money in China, plus all those museums in the Middle East are queueing up their bids. And it makes sense. At a time when forex traders are getting whipsawed and we seem to be at risk of a full blown currency war, when the sovereign bond bubble is just about ready to burst, with gold and oil in a downtrend, and with real estate prices in limbo, you have to find other options.  Where else can you put your money?  Some put their money in art.

But the art market had always seemed intimidating for me. I appreciate art but I don’t claim to be an expert. I’ve considered investing in art many times. But as I’ve said, I get intimidated time and time again.  The art market is so opaque.  It’s unlike the stock market where anyone can see all the prices as they move by the second.  At the same time, art is a long-term hold so it doesn’t match my day trading set of skills.

What’s attracting me to art investing right now though is the possibility of an art market bubble in the making.  Maybe I can bet at least five percent of my portfolio on that right now.  I would lump together gold and real estate with art investments.

Why am I optimistic about an art bubble? During times of economic uncertainty, when investors are fearful with their currencies and worried about the stocks and bonds they hold, art and jewelry tend to appreciate in value.   The US Federal Reserve “saved” the world from forex tradereconomic catastrophe seven years ago when it bailed out the big banks and absorbed a lot of their subprime mortgage exposures.  But the Fed seems to be running out of tricks now. Near zero interest rates and a ballooning federal credit card have made the chances of the US saving the world’s economies this time around is a little bit slimmer.

Also favoring higher art valuations are the political and social uncertainties we are experiencing globally right now. Refugees streaming across Europe. Terrorists in Paris. Russia striking at ISIS. Turkey striking at Russia.  Putin hating on Obama.  Obama, well, he’s at an In-N-Out Burger right now, practicing his official statement on all those things. Some are even crying out World War III!  I don’t know if it’s going to be World War III.  But just in case, I think I’ll do better with a painting than a paper bill if ever that pushes through.

And so, intimidating as it may seem, I think I’ll take the plunge and invest in some art.  Lots of research and advice-seeking will hopefully guide me in the right direction.  So many questions right now.  How much of my portfolio should I allocate to my art investments? Which art advisor should I go to? What works of art should I focus on?  Which artistic period? Which artist?  Which painting?

Unlike buying equities, there is no balance sheet to analyze.  There are no ratios to help me compare one work against another.  No profit and loss statements, no cash flow reports here.  No history of stock or cash dividends.  No annual reports or SEC filings. It’s a different animal.

But just like equities, there is risk, there is a holding period, there is a bid and ask and there are taxes involved.  And you also need guts.  And a bit of luck.

I might have a chance at this.

Investing in Art? Here Is some Advice…

Art is a form of expression. It communicates the emotions of the one who created it.  But for some people who buy a piece of art, the primary consideration is oftentimes investment value and returns. Art has become an asset class that not only gives enjoyment but also provides a chance for the owner to reap some capital gains.

Current circumstances surrounding the global economy – primarily the influx of cash that has resulted from quantitative easing in the US and Europe, as well as the rise of the wealthy class in China and in certain Middle Eastern countries – have resulted in a significant art investmentincrease in art sales over the past three years.

Market uncertainties in the western economies have also pushed fund managers to look to the art world as a way for them to diversify their portfolios.  Art now serves as a hedge against certain black swan events and possible declines in currencies, equities or fixed instruments.

With the possibility of a bubble in the art market, investors now have an opportunity to ride with the trend of rising art prices.

Here are some pointers on how to go about investing in art:

  1. Determine how much you are willing to invest. Just the same way you would treat an investment in fixed income or in equities, you have to decide on how much of your portfolio will be allocated to art.  Art is highly illiquid so once you sink your funds into it there’s no turning back. At least not for a long time. Some funds allocate five to twenty percent of their portfolio in art.


  1. Get help from a reputable advisor. You can go to established museums and galleries that can refer you to art consultants.  A well-connected advisor can give you sound advice about trends and pricing. An art advisor has inside information about what sells, whether fine art investmenta piece of art is undervalued or overpriced, or which is more likely to hold its value over time.  Since works of art are luxury items, the prices can at times merely reflect the buyers’ whims.  And, because there are just a few sellers or buyers in the art market, prices can also be subject to wild swings.


  1. Find out which artist’s period has the best prospects for value appreciation. In the past few years, post-World War II artists have attracted a significant amount of buyer interest.  The money that is currently flowing into the art market comes from the new rich and they are attracted to the relatively new works of art that were created only within the past seventy years.


  1. Get to know the artist’s life and accomplishments. When was he born? When did he die? Who trained him?  Who else did he work with? Who are his contemporaries? Where did he study? Which museums or galleries hold his works?  What awards or honors has he received? Who are the other collectors who own his works?  What is his life story?  All these considerations affect the value of an art work.

An art investor also needs to be aware of certain characteristics of the art market before he decides to  invest.

  1. Art is illiquid and to be considered as a long-term investment. For this reason, you should also buy something you would be happy to live with and see hanging on your wall for a long time.  It would be nice if you have an emotional connection with the art you buy.


  1. Art is a luxury item. As such, it can be affected by people’s subjectivity.


  1. Art is cyclical. It moves in the same way fashion trends do.  Art trends come and go and then resurface again.  If you are a value investor, you might consider buying something that was once in the spotlight but has gone out of favor for a while. That way, you have a bigger upside in terms of your investment’s growth potential.


  1. Art can be used as a store of value or a hedge against financial market declines. The average prices of art works were plotted against the S&P and they seem to follow the same trend.  However, during times when the stock market plummets, art values have remained relatively intact.  Of course, this goes hand in hand with art’s other characteristic of illiquidity.  Together with antiques and jewelry, the price of certain works art would go up even more when the market for financial instruments sees a decline in value.

Top 5 Tips On Investing In Stock Market

stock marketMaking smart decisions is a must in investing in stock market. I have here some tips for you to know before releasing you hard earned savings to a company or a business that may or may not do good to your financial status. It is true that anyone could easily be enticed to
the lure of money. I mean, if the offer from a broker sounds really good, most of the time you won’t be able to help but buy whatever it is that they are selling. Read carefully these tips, so you won’t end up regretting your investment.


  1. Do Not Follow The Herd


Usually, people buy stocks due to the influence of their peers or pretty much because everybody they know is buying it. Just because a lot of people are investing on a particular stock, doesn’t mean you should do the same. It is important to have a choice on your own because in the end, there is a huge chance that it will blow up on your face. I think the quote coming from Warren Buffett, who by the way is known for being the best in the world to handle investment, should suffice my point here. He said, “Be fearful when other are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”


  1. Never Dare To Time The Stock market


stock market investmentThis is one common mistake that amateur investors and that’s timing the market. Keep in mind that it is always changing and just
because you kind of saw a pattern at first and for some stocks, it doesn’t mean it would apply to what you bought or what you think of buying. People who tried timing it ended up failing and losing their money. It is best to think of strategies and making rational and obvious analysis than timing it because it would appear like you’re depending on some fairy tale story by doing so.


  1. Discipline Is Key


It is a word that I would like to call as a bitter pill to swallow. Only people who can practice discipline in the subject of investing and finance would be able to reap the good fruit of this. If you’re someone who can systematically work this out and stick to it with patience, then you will see your investment flourish sooner or later.


  1. Let Go Of The Idea To Get Rich Quick


Greatness takes time. Be wary of anyone who would promise you that you would be wealthy doing this thing in such a quick way. Investing in stock market needs some time for your invested amount to mature. Not thinking you would get rich doing it is among the right attitude that you must possess in this subject.


  1. Do Your Own Research


I strongly advice to never rely on a broker no matter how much you trust them. It is wise that you have your own data and own information about the company that you intend to invest money in.


These are so far the basic tips I could give you when it comes to investing in stock market. Share it to your friends as well!