As part of the editing process for What We Need to Survive back in late 2015, I wrote about how I read my novel to myself out loud to find errors my proofreaders had missed.
It worked amazingly well, but I won’t lie–it was a tiring process.
Recently, a better option came to my attention. TTSReader, a free text-to-speech app. Instead of reading it myself, I get to listen to a pleasantly robotic female voice read my novel to me.
In the first three chapters alone, I found two typos, three missing words, and six instances of word repetition that were more obvious out loud than on the page.
And I got to knit while I was listening, setting the project down whenever I needed to pause and make a correction.
I will say, the app accepts files in both text and PDF format, but when I used a PDF it created all sorts of unforced errors–for example, words smashed together or compressed around punctuation marks, like “said.She” which reads as “said dot she.” Very strange to hear. I had much better luck pasting text from my manuscript in directly, when only my own errors would come through.
Even after only a few hours using it, I much prefer letting the app’s electronic brain read to me than relying on my own. When I read my manuscripts to myself, I did catch errors, but it was still me reading my own writing–I had some idea what to expect. The app does not, which makes it superior, and of course, I also don’t have to wear out my voice this way.