The first thing you need to become a professional journalist is an enthusiasm in writing. If you are not enthusiastic about writing it will come across in your work.
You will need to apply yourself in English lessons in school even if it is a topic which bores you as to be a good writer you need an all around understanding of written English.
Full length books that you buy in bookstores can take years to write let alone produce so it is normally best to start writing collections of short stories. As your development continues you should place close attention to your structure, characters and storytelling.
If you have a story you are proud of show it to your teachers and try submitting it to websites that feature short stories. Also try reading it out in a class or assembly to gage people's responses.
As a writer you will have a million and one ideas for great stories, be sure to carry a book around which you can write the ideas in to before you forget them. You won't have the time to write the book for every great idea you come up with at the same time so it is good to have them on paper for when you are thinking about your next project.
There are many books available that teach the finer techniques of writing fiction and non fiction so read as many of these as possible and apply what you learn to your own stories.
Get in touch with your local library as many have speakers in or run summer courses on writing which can be of great help.
Before you start writing make sure you are aware of the page formatting for the type of project you are writing. When trying to get a book deal nobody will look at it unless it is in the right format.
Trying to sell your work can be a long hard process. Most reputable companies will not look at your work unless you have an agent. A good website to source one is: http://www.writersservices.com
When you contact an agent make sure you know what type of deal you are signing in to. Some agents won't accept a submission of a full book as they don't have time to read through the millions that land on their desk. So before you start writing your five hundred page novel be sure to speak to agents first. If you are unsure how reputable the agent is do some research and contact some of their clients and ask them what the agent is like.
If you think you have a great book written and you're scared to show it to anyone in case someone copies your work be sure to register it for copyright first. If you contact http://www.writersguild.org.uk/public/index.html they will be able to show you how this is done.
If you don't want to wait the years it can take for a book deal to come through you can try self publishing. The best website I have found for this is http://www.lulu.com. Through self publishing you set the price you want to sell the work for and your book is then produced to order. This means that you won't see your work in your nearest book shop but if you register for an ISBN websites like www.amazon.com can pick it up. Once you have self published a book it becomes very hard to sell it to a publishing house so think what is best for you before you make a decision.
To read tips and advice direct from our Writing expert Joyce Dunbar click the link below: