If an author has a pending application with the Copyright Office, and now needs to expedite the process, can they do this?
Yes. After an application for registration has been filed, it is possible to request special handling for that application if it is awaiting review or “in-process.” The applicant or their agent must pay an hourly search fee to locate the application and deposit and must pay the standard special handling fee of $800. Converting a claim to special handling will ensure that the claim is reviewed within five business days after the Office locates the application and deposit. For further information, please see Compendium (Third) § 623.
Rob Kasunic, Director of Registration Policy and Practices at the U.S. Copyright Office