I should make a FAQ for publishers who want to help me "go legit." It would be funny, I bet.
Recently, I had some contact with a medium-sized press that wanted to take one of my older titles and re-print it "for a much bigger audience." They were very courteous and seemed well-intentioned, but there were more than a few stumbling blocks to overcome. One was a request for a promotion plan. This appears to be standard fare in the publishing biz, and the lack of a solid plan appears to irritate editors. Let me tell you, it irritates me even more.
So to all prospective publishers looking to scoop up a popular self-published or web fiction property, here is what you need to ask yourselves: what are YOUR promotion plans? How much are you going to spend, where is it being spent, and what are the expected results? I want to see a solid plan that I can sink my teeth into, or I'm going to have doubts that you can deliver. Get that together, and THEN contact me.
See, I already market well to my audience. When I release something new, it's well covered. Your job is to spread the word further than I can do myself. If you want ME to do that, then it assumes I CAN. If I CAN, then I have to ask why I would need you involved at all. So I can get a smaller royalty? I think you miss the key element of "value proposition"... the, uh, "value" part. And please, don't suggest I spend my own advance on it. I'm not your marketing department. If you need help in that area, I have a rate card I can send you.