How many times have you heard the advice to read your manuscript out loud? 

The advice is repeated because it works. Reading your work out loud can help you catch errors, notice repetition, and prevents you from filling in what you think it says versus what it actually does.

But dang, reading an entire manuscript aloud is tedious. And how long would that take? Reading a few passages is easy enough, but 60,000, 80,000 or 100,000 words out loud is just…*shakes head*

Recently, I’ve discovered how much I love listening to books on audio. For me, it helps me focus (and keeps my fidgeting in check) when I can listen to a book or podcast while I color, cross-stitch, or do jigsaw puzzles. Those items require no mental effort on my behalf, and it actually opens me up better for listening. 

Lately, I’ve been trying figure out how I can apply this set-up to my clients’ manuscripts. Typically, my edits require two passes, and so for me that means I may read the novel once through to get my initial impressions before making edits. With so many hours sitting in front of my laptop for edits, I long for opportunities to read that don’t require this process. That usually means eBooks on my Kindle, or Audible books. 

I thought about how much I enjoy listening to books–how can I do this regularly? There must be a way to convert a word document into voice? Can I get my Alexa to do this? Is there a simple way to do this for long files? 80,000-word files?

After a bit of research, I found an app called Speechify. It takes files, documents, books, etc. and translates them into AI voice-text. I can still read it like an eBook too if I’d like, but it can play in several different voices. I did buy the paid version, as that version provides more natural sounding AI voices. The free version has very robotic-sounding voices, which still works. It’s been an amazing addition in my work-life. I’ve always wanted to listen to clients’ books while I go for walks, workout, do laundry, color, cook, etc. 

Which brings me back to the beginning of my note. How do you get yourself to read your manuscript aloud when it will be tedious, dry out your mouth, and take days? 

Download a text-to-voice app! I mention Speechify because it’s the one I tried first, but there are several out there. Put your manuscript document in the app and listen away! You can make it any speed, you can even have the speed steadily increase as you get more comfortable with the speed level, or you can just calmly enjoy the lovely AI American, British, and Austrian accented voices (male, female, or even child). 

By using an app like this to read your manuscript out loud for you, you will also now benefit from hearing how it sounds without your inflection, hearing what patterns are repeated, discovering when you get bored, and becoming aware of what errors you struggled to catch reading with your eyes. Also, I bet you can fit this into your schedule much, much easier than before. 

Have you tried something like this before? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Comment and let me know. 

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