If you believe you have a book that’s anywhere near ready to go to market, you’ve undoubtedly taken it through multiple drafts and somewhere along the way you’ve probably numbed out to the words. It can be very hard to read our own words analytically. We know all too well what’s coming next, so we start to skim. We’re flipping the pages so fast that we don’t catch small issues like typos or larger ones like plotting errors.

Reading out loud slows you down. It allows you to approach each page as if someone else had written it. Tics in the writing begin to leap out at you. Awkward phrasing, run-on’s, choppy sentences, or the tendency to repeat the same word over and over jump out too.

When I first read the draft of my novel Ricky Robinson Braveheart, aloud, I was appalled by how often I used the word “toward.” I did a word search and found that the  word needed to be replaced with synonyms. Fortunately, the process of reading my book aloud alerted me to my embarrassing over-reliance on several words before I sent the book out.

If you find the idea of an out-loud read through too daunting, some writers swear that they can look at their work through fresh eyes simply by printing it in a bizarre font. So if you’re used to something serviceable and plain like Times New Roman, run a chapter out in Batik or Matisse and see if it reads differently to you.