(Sorry for the paragraphs- I need to learn how to write more concisely. )
I get being picky and having an exact vision, believe me, but all this is for free, so you have to lower your standards a bit. Free services means you’re taking time out of other’s lives without any payment. Thus, you can’t really expect the quality to be ace (this doesn’t mean bad, but they usually can’t work extensively on it) or for them to always be at your service and work precisely around your standards, because this scenario usually means that it’s just a pastime and that they either still have a real job they need to hold down, or they need to attend school full time, etc. etc. I personally don’t think you think you can demand to have more resources from people who do things for free. They’re trying their best, and it’s not ideal sometimes, but it’s not the end of the world. But the demand to be treated fairly makes sense!
I agree that it’s not right with the part where they ignore you if you’re not a popular author, although I can sort of understand it. I think one reason it can stem from is the desire to make sure their efforts will definitely be used and recognized (because so many people request only for their story, and furthermore covers, never see the light of day, whereas with popular authors or established authors, there’s a sense of accountability.) Doing it for recognition might not sound right, but with not much incentive otherwise, it makes some sense. Regardless, getting ignored just because of how popular you are, I don’t like that either.
I’m curious what solution you have in mind? Because obviously, you can’t force people who do things for free at their own will to just make more free time and spend a more time practicing because as you said, we all get busy. And because they do it for free, they must have other more important things going on in their lives.
Might I suggest, now knowing you were referring to Instagram, try the forums! The system of going through cover shops is much better (all the active ones are listed always at the top!), there are new ones opened every day (if my thread gets inactive for just a few hours, it gets sunk veeeerry low), and I personally think the forums lets you communicate better. (Also maybe edit your original post to make sure everyone who reads makes sure you’re talking about Instagram?)