Dear Miss Snark,
I just read the submission requirements for a newish, small genre publisher, and they want a marketing plan to be included with every submission. 1) I know authors have to promote themselves. Is this requirement going too far or is it the wave of the future/present? 2) To what extent does a potential author's marketing plan affect the publisher's decision to buy? 3) How much money do publishers expect an author to spend on marketing? I don't expect to ever make much money writing, but I'd rather not go into debt with it either.
Sorry to ask so many questions, but once I started they all came pouring out.
First, you said genre, so I'm going to assume fiction. Marketing plans for non-fiction (also meaning platform) is absolutely the norm with all publishers great and small. However, fiction is a Norm of a different color.
The first thing I notice is you said they want it with submissions. Yuck. I'd look to make sure they have decent distribution before I'd lift one well-shod toe. By decent distribution I do NOT mean "available on Amazon and through Ingram and Baker and Taylor". That is code for "we're listed and someone can order it at the store but we don't have any sales muscle".
You want to see the actual word "distribution" or "wholesale". You want to see a website that offers booksellers information on how /where to order. If the website is ONLY directed at consumers, you know you're gonna be on your own to move this puppy.
It's quite normal for me to work with marketing and publicity folks to promote a title once it's been accepted for publication. I do that every day of the week. I might discuss an author's rousing success in the market place when I pitch a book to an editor but I've never written a marketing plan for a piece of fiction as part of the submission process.
As for how much to spend, there are a lot of ways to build visibility without spending a lot of dough. The trade off is time. You spend one or the other but not neither.