As an author, it can be beneficial to connect with other authors so that you can learn from each other and help each other succeed. Start by looking for a local authors and publishers group. Perform a Google search, ask at your local bookstore or library, and search events on http://Craigslist.org and http://meetup.com. Most major metro areas should have a professional authors’ association.
On a national level, I recommend the Independent Book Publishers Association (http://ibpa-online.org), which publishes an excellent monthly magazine and hosts online events and a fabulous annual conference.
Writer’s conferences can also be beneficial for learning and meeting industry professionals. You can find a comprehensive list of events at http://writing.shawguides.com. I will add that for years I have found it frustrating that most writer’s conferences and groups forget about nonfiction authors. Instead, there is a heavy emphasis on fiction writers, followed by children’s book writers. Because of this, in 2010 I launched the first online conference specifically for nonfiction authors: http://NonfictionWritersConference.com.