I just registered for the League of Utah Writers Conference. I think that writers conferences are invaluable for those who want to become published, or continue to grow their writing career. I've met writers at them who have become great friends and mentors, and gained invaluable contacts that later led to endorsements.
When I started submitting my first novel, I did an internet search for writers groups. I found the LUW and attended my first chapter meeting in January 2002. J. Scott Savage was the speaker that night. Annette Lyon was the Chapter President. Little did I know, but I would join their critique group that summer and eventually replace Annette as Chapter President. You can say that I jumped in with both feet.
So if you want to become a published writer, find a writers league near you and sign up for conferences in your area. Check out the speaker line-up and sign up for interviews to meet with agents or publishers. Most agents find their clients through referrals or at writers conferences.