When Dr. Donna Marks, an educator, concierge psychotherapist, and addiction counselor, started submitting her book, Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure, for awards in the summer of 2020, little did she expect to be inundated with letters of congratulations just a few months later.
Fueled by her own struggle with addiction, Dr. Marks has been studying mental health since 1987, including a Doctorate in Adult Education in 1989. Having developed several award-winning programs in addiction training, she was ready to add “award-winning author” to her bio as well.
Exit the Maze is Dr. Marks’s second book in just over a year.
Her first book, Learn, Grow, and Forgive: A Path to Spiritual Success, was published in early 2019. Not wasting any time, she started working with our CEO, Robin Colucci, on her second book just months later, in the summer of 2019.
For her, the difference in working on these two books couldn’t have been more different.
“[It was] like night and day. Having a professional editor like Robin made things much, much better. I knew I was doing things correctly.”
Confident that she had produced a strong piece on the importance of replacing addiction with self love and spirituality, Marks decided to submit her book left and right for every applicable award she could find. In just a couple months, she had applied to over 20 competitions. Many of them, she figured, would lead nowhere. But as 2020 drew to a close, the letters started trickling in.
First, it was the 2020 International Book Awards, where Marks won first place in the Health: Addition and Recovery category. Then she received a Gold Winner award in the Nonfiction Book Awards from the Nonfiction Authors Association. All in all, Dr. Marks has won seven out of the nine places she submitted her book for consideration (see them all here). And there’s still lots more to go; 11 more competitions have yet to make their decisions.
Her book’s success has given her the confidence she needed to transform her therapy practice into her dream business.
She now focuses on concierge therapy and only taking on the individual, one-on-one sessions with her clients that she really enjoys. Not only is Dr. Marks making more money while putting in less time, her clients gain greater benefit from intensive sessions, making more progress in fewer sessions. “Now people are paying me significantly much more money and are in therapy for a shorter period of time… So that’s been exponentially significant.”
But Dr. Marks isn’t ready to sit back and relax quite yet. She’s already got her sights set on writing her next award-winning book! This one, she speculates, will probably be focused more on spirituality.