I hear a lot these days about the unfair reputation of self-published authors. Sadly, it seems many of these authors write their book, upload it to Amazon, and hit publish--all before seriously considering its editing.
For those of us who may carefully try the self-published route, the authors who rush to press really aren't helping the marketplace situation. It leads to the blanket refusal of some publications to even review our self-published works or to take them seriously. This isn't some mysterious conspiracy of the big publishing houses--well, it might be that, too--it's primarily because of the dismal quality of some of the work that's easily found up on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I've been contacted, for instance, by friendly and well-meaning authors for reviews only to find significant grammatical problems within their first page.
I don't care if you have the best darn story idea since Hamlet, if you can't write a coherent sentence, then you...may need to stick with that day job--or hire a real editor. Yes, it sounds harsh, but no one wants to read a stream of consciousness narrative without correct grammar or punctuation.
So, what are some low cost ideas for dealing with the editorial challenge? In the case of my most recent work, which was published through a hybrid press, I relied upon several approaches. Beta readers were arguably the most important part, though. I don't want a beta reader who thinks everything I write is a masterpiece; I want a critical and well-read reader who can spot my errors and give me sound advice. In return, of course, I need to be thankful and courteous--even if the beta reader tells me the entire subplot needs to be mercilessly ripped out. (This has actually happened to me.)
I think many of us have forgotten that even independent eBooks should be higher quality than a college freshman's English paper. If we all want to be taken more seriously, then we need to hold our fellow authors to a higher standard. If you write, take your content seriously!