While I was at Sundance a statement from George RR Martin's publisher lit up the interwebs: the sixth book in his A Song of Ice And Fire series, The Winds of Winter, would not be released in 2015. The book will not, for sure, be coming out this year. It will come out in 2016 or later, and Game of Thrones will, in 12 months, lap GRRM.
That's all well and good, but it doesn't exactly reflect reality. Here's what Jane Johnson said:
“I have no information on likely delivery,” she said. “These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers.”
There is no information on likely delivery. The book is not scheduled for 2015. That's all true. But what's also true is that it's February, and we have a lot of months to go. And what's also true is that A Dance With Dragons, the last book released, was only announced in March ahead of a July release. In January of 2011 the publisher would have correctly told you they did not have the book scheduled for that year.
The book will be finished when the book is finished, and the book will be announced when that happens. Martin and everyone involved understand perfectly well that people are waiting impatiently for the next volume, and they're not going to play games. When the book is delivered and edited the release date will be announced; that date will likely be as soon as possible. The Winds of Winter will sell whenever it is released, so they're probably not going to wait for a season or a holiday - they'll just get it on shelves as soon as possible.
So yes, the book is not scheduled for 2015. But that could very easily change at any time. Or, since it took GRRM six years to write the last one, it could not. We'll just have to wait and see. As always I want the book to be good, not fast.
This does raise an interesting question: at this point it's all but certain that book seven, A Dream of Spring, will be released well after Game of Thrones ends. There's just no way it isn't, even in a best case scenario. How does the story concluding on TV impact sales of the book? Are book readers going to be bored by the release of book seven if they already know what the final fates of Arya, Jon Snow and Hodor are?