I submitted an article 5 months ago to a journal. Since then, the article has been jumping between "Waiting for Reviewer Assignment" and "Contacting Potential Reviewers" (10 changes of status now). The article is quite technical and multidisciplinary, so I understand that finding reviewers is hard. Still, this had never happened to me and I wonder how to proceed now.
I wrote an email to the generic address listed in the journal page (journalname@publishername), obtaining first an automatic response:
(...) We are currently experiencing a high volume of requests and will answer your inquiry as soon as possible. Please allow additional time for the processing of recently-submitted manuscripts and for the posting of recently-accepted manuscripts as Accepted Articles. (...)
And then a fairly generic one, stating that the handling editor is presently working to secure reviewers, sending invitations "daily". In my question I asked whether they had secured at least one reviewer, but I did not receive a concrete answer, so I assume they have not.
What is the best course of action now? I have several options, from writing directly one of the editors (I do not know which one, one of the options would be to write the editor of a previous article we submitted and published in the same journal), to withdrawing the manuscript. How can I respectfully convey the journal the message that I would prefer not to withdraw the article*, but that I will do so if they do not find any reviewers soon?
*Note: this is actually the third article in a series submitted to this journal (the previous two were published) and I honestly think that it is an ideal fit, so I would prefer not to withdraw it.
Note 2: The article waited almost a month (25 days) awaiting associate reviewer assignment.