It's why we need to ensure whatever we send out as a submission is absolutely perfect. What a shame it would be if your ms was comparable to one of the greats and your query letter was full of errors, not to mention had been addressed to the wrong person.
So we've finished the book, typed "The End" and decided it's the next best thing to hit the shelves since J.K. Rowling was discovered. We now do our research, pick out the ones we feel may just take an interest, then start gathering all the information needed in order to complete the required submission. This process can almost be as hard as writing the book itself. But we have faith; we always have faith. If we didn't have faith, we might as well change our career path.
The competition is fierce. Talented authors are being turned down because they aren't well-known enough or don't meet the criteria of the agency. I recently heard about someone who was turned down because her book genre, romance, wasn't selling as well anymore. I'm no expert but I honestly can't understand why she was told that by one agent, yet she has since been accepted by another after being told her book is wonderfully-written and that the romance genre is selling like hot cakes. A difference of opinion perhaps. But I think knowing the right people can help as well.
Authors are waiting months to have their submissions looked at. I still haven't heard from six agencies I submitted to back in February of this year. I've given up on them now of course, even I'm not that desperate, but an acknowledgement would have sufficed, just to say "no thanks". We all know that agents and publishers are inundated on a daily basis with manuscripts, most of which end up on either the slush pile or in the shredder. We authors do have respect for the people that may one day represent us and achieve that book deal of a life time, but we would also like a little respect in return. It's hard work being a writer, even though the rewards can be incredible. I'll never give up and I'm quite sure none of you will, either. Would you wait six months for an agent/publisher to respond to you? Or would you move on to the self-publishing world like I did?