The other day during chat at Long Ridge, I was telling a friend about the NETWO conference. She asked something to the effect of what was the one thing that stood out from the conference, the most important thing I brought home with me. So I thought for a moment, I mean, I had such a great time the whole weekend.
The one thing, the most important thing from the whole weekend is that "great will rise to the top of the slush and get the attention it deserves."
I said it here and I'll say it again. Write a great story, polish it until it shines, do your homework and research where to submit, then submit widely and often.
Also, I want to point out the importance of attending writer's conferences. These are a great place to connect with other writers and make friends. No one understands what it means to be a writer except another writer.
Conferences are a great place to meet agents and editors. Even if you have nothing ready to pitch, you can still get to know them on a bit more personal level.
Not sure where or when a conference will be? Then check out Shaw Guides. You can search by state or month. Also, google writer's conferences and your state. For example, Texas Writer's Conferences and see what pops up. I can say with a fair amount of certainty you won't regret attending. Unless you go to bed early, miss out on the kitchen raid, cards, snackage and great conversation.