Things are moving on rapidly now. I have moved on from trawling through the text backwards (which was a chore, believe me) and have run the Grammarly check. Grammarly is a free download. There is also a paid-for version, which offers more features, but I don’t use it. I have qualifications in English Language and am an experienced writer. My grammar is good.
For me, Grammarly serves as a technical checker, rather than as a critic of my grammar. It weeds out those tiny little errors that you miss when reading through. I mean things like imsplaced commas, double full-stops. It even comes across the occasional typing error, which only goes to show how easy it can be to miss these things. What irritates me the most is that many of the errors that Grammarly highlights were caused, not by careless typing when creating the book, but by the editing process. The classic example is deleting a sentence, but neglecting to delete the full-stop at the end of it.
The next stage is proofreading. I don’t do this myself. No author should. It needs a fresh pair of eyes and a brain that hasn’t been wrestling with it for months and knows it backwards. My wife’s cousin is my proofreader. She is fair, but ruthless, which is exactly what I need. Someone who tells me my book is wonderful because they don’t want to hurt my feelings is no use to me. I need to know its faults. If she doesn’t like something I wrote, she tells me and that gives me a chance to put it right before it goes on sale.