Yesterday morning, I learned that Shark Vs. Train is among the 2012-13 nominees for the Association of Indiana School Library Educators’ Young Hoosier Book Award. Yes, I posted the happy news in the usual social media spots. But I also took the time to email the YHBA committee chairs to thank them directly.

It took a little doing to find out who the chairs are and track down their email addresses, but nothing compared to the work that the committee did in narrowing the candidate titles down to the 55 or 60 that made the final middle grade, intermediate, and picture book lists. (It’s a good-looking bunch of books. Seriously, you should check it out.) I truly am appreciative of the committee’s efforts, and I’m honored to have now had both The Day-Glo Brothers and Shark Vs. Train on YHBA lists, and I want them to know that.

Besides, I learned earlier this year just what a big payoff there can be for my spending a few minutes chasing down that contact information and sending an email. When Shark Vs. Train was named to the Texas Library Association’s 2×2 Reading List, I emailed my thanks to the committee members. From that one act of basic good manners came an invitation for a solid week of presentations at the nine elementary schools in the district of one of those committee members.

If I had been inclined to see such a thank-you email as purely optional, that turn of events surely cured me of it. Saying thanks for that sort of recognition isn’t optional; it’s a must-do. And I don’t think it’s enough to simply exude an appreciative vibe via tweet or status update — I really believe that the thank-you is more genuine and sincere when it goes directly to the people being thanked.

The bottom line: Authors and illustrators and any other professionals using the one-to-multitudes reach of social media, don’t forget the power of the one-to-one thank-you note.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get this blog post up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…