Following the journals' protocol, I have sent a pre-submission enquiry to a few journals regarding a manuscript, and have received answers rather quickly (max 1 week). I have always waited for an answer before enquiring from the next journal. Now, I have waited for over a month for a reply from a journal. I have already asked once from an editorial assistant (direct enquiries are not available) whether there is a hiccup in the process that I should be aware of, but she told me that she has not yet received an answer from the editor and will inform me as soon as she has some information.
Now, this waiting period is getting close to the number of days the journal reports as their average number of days to first decision for reviewed manuscripts. It seems a bit unusual that a pre-submission enquiry would take this long to process, as other journals have been rather swift in their decision-making. Is there something I can do? I do not wish to bother the editorial assistant again, but this is a difficult situation for me as I am expected to have this published sooner rather than later for my PhD funding.