I try to use original pictures whenever I can. The stock templates are great, but I tend to skate on the other side of the ice. I think I submitted at around 10:00 or 11:00 EST. I don't recall the exact time. I may start putting that data into the description.
I wouldn't mind the four (or however many) hour wait between submission and feature, but having it appear down on Page 12 makes the whole endeavor seem rather pointless. I don't know too many people that drill down that deep in the 'Latest' section looking for memes worthy of comment.
If my stuff was within the first 3 or 4 pages of new (aka 'Latest') memes, and then didn't get many upvotes or comments, I'd be happy to chalk that up to my just not being that clever or funny. Personally, I think I'm high-larious, but I acknowledge that not everyone gets me. But I would venture to guess that if the best meme ever gets featured on Page 12 or lower, no one is ever going to see it no matter how awesome it is.
I find myself wondering how the system works, specifically. Are there admins who personally examine each submission? Do they (whoever "they" are) wait until they have a few dozen submission queued up to be featured, and then feature them all at once? Do they have other tasks, and just get around to this when they get around to it? Because there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it at all.
I'm not one of those people (you know who you are) who whines about never making the front page, how many points (s)he has or doesn't have, panhandles for upvotes, or brown-noses the more popular users. But if the only way to get people's attention is to somehow theorycraft the system, well... I'm disinclined to spend that much time figuring out how to card-count Imgflip.