I want to get published. What should I do?
Read what you want to write. Write! Make sure you are writing professionally, by having your work critiqued by your peers and editors. Take classes and network. Send your writing out for publication.
Do I need an agent?
It depends upon the field of interest. If you are writing a main-stream thriller and want to sell it to a major house, you’ll need an agent. If you will sell a book to a University or secondary press, you won’t.
If I don’t have an agent, how do I find out about editors and publishers?
Libraries and bookstores have The Writer’s Market. Professional organizations often have publisher’s market surveys. Some of these are even on the Internet. When you send things to publishers, if they respond with a person note, you have begun a correspondence of sorts. Then you can thank that editor and send her another project. This is how people can get published. Build your relationships.