As writers, reading our own work usually comes in the edit process, when we're looking for typos, bloopers or plain clunky writing that should never see the light of somebody else's day.
But how often do we read what we've written as a reader; that is to say without the editorial portion of our brain?
The main reason for doing this is to get a sense of how the book flows, where the peaks and troughs of action and emotion versus descriptive narrative are... effectively, what does the story feel like to an outsider.
You're doing this not for a sense of self-satisfaction, but to put yourself in place of an agent or editor (and ultimately, of course, a reader or few). It is they who will judge your writing, and you need to get an impression of how others will see it.
It's the acid test of all tests, and if you feel you can pass that, you'll be on your way to submitting your work with a lot more confidence.
New Author profile - Mark Hardie
A writer who didn't allow a serious problem to stand in the way of his dreams of getting published is Mark Hardie, author of 'Burned and Broken' (Sphere - June 2016).
Most of us couldn't begin to imagine trying to write without being able to see. It's simply too huge. But not Mark. After losing his sight in 2002, he took a creative writing course... and the rest is history. But it wasn't that simple and reading the piece will give a tiny hint how he manages.
'Burned and Broken' is a crime thriller which uncovers the death of a policeman investigated by two colleagues. The force doesn't want anything revealed that will reflect badly in it, but the two cops involved have other ideas. Then they find that their dead colleague wasn't everything he was cracked up to be.