For new readers, this doesn't mean it's time to send it off to agents. There are very few people who can send their first draft off and get an agent or a publishing deal. In fact, it's almost impossible. Unless their first draft process also includes active revision and editing while they write.
So what's next? Well, I'm going to let it sit for the rest of this week. I haven't looked at the first chapter in a couple of months, but I want the overall concept of this book out of my brain so that on Monday, I can sit down begin revisions.
This particular round of revisions will be some of the most important. My outline gave me some great direction as I write this novel, but I deviated quite a bit from the original idea. This means I need to go through and fix some of the anachronisms and continuity errors that might have cropped up.
But most of my writing tends to lean toward plot development rather than character development. I have an idea of who the characters are, how I want them to behave, but getting that on the page takes a back-seat to overall story when I draft the novel. Before I send this book off to any beta readers I find, I need to develop the characters more.
My critique group has helped a lot with pointing out areas where plot, setting, and character development are severely lacking, so I'll use their notes. But over the past few years, I've also gotten pretty good at spotting some mistakes that the critique group might have missed. Which is why I work with a critique group. Even if they miss something, their critical eye helps me to see mistakes in my writing. It opens my perspective and gets me to take a step back and look at the book for what it is, rather than what I hope for it to become.
So that's my big update. I finished the first draft at 67,420 words. Now it's time to rest, work on other projects for a day or two, and then get back to work!