Yes, it's a real problem...Though not everyone wants to talk about this delicate subject, the "disease" is something many writers suffer from...Premature e-publication!
I moderated a panel on this subject at SCWC recently, with two top agents and two fine publisher/editors, and there was one thing we all agreed on: too many writers get so excited about being able to publish easily/cheaply that they don't worry enough about publishing a well-edited and designed book.
All too often new e-books, on Kindle and other ebook formats, have been rushed to "press" with no obvious effort having been given to what we in the biz call give the initials EDP--Editorial, Design and Production.
Not only do they suffer from terrible, uninteresting covers--which can be the death of a book marketed solely through online networking--but the editing is either amateurish or is a step which appears to have been left out altogether.
Yes, it's exciting to have a book published--but wouldn't you rather have a book with your name on it be well-received and well-respected for years? Publishing a book too fast is liking rushing into a marriage...I like to say that a book "never happens fast enough for an author, or slow enough for a publisher."
I advise every author who aspires to publication to think of themselves as a one-book publisher--whether they plan to self-publish or not--and to think of the time/money they spend on research and refining as an investment in their career and the future of their work.
Do your homework, take time to edit and polish your book, and to learn about and truly know your audience. If you do self-publish, you'll be ready to take the world (meaning your specific niche) by storm; if you find an agent or editor is interested in your manuscript, they will be impressed with all your preparations. Put together an imaginative, workable, and inexpensive marketing plan, and your publisher will be forever in your debt!
My friend Marla Miller recently blogged on the subject of premature publication--and yes, it also happens with physical books, not just e-books. Her post is well worth reading, and her blog is one I check out frequently. Check out her recent post here.