As you know, writers' conferences are a good place to meet people for critique groups. They also help us improve our craft, network with other writers and, sometimes, connect with editors and agents who will like our work. (That's no guarantee of publication, but it makes it much more likely.) And, believe it or not, if you're already published they help you sell your work because word of mouth is the best publicity. So if you're a writer, start saving your pennies and go to a writers' conference. You'll probably be glad you did.