Tor and Harriet have set the release date for A MEMORY OF LIGHT. Again. While I've been working on the book, this has happened a half dozen times, with varying levels of publicity surrounding the date.
This time we're saying January 8th. How likely is this one? Well, honestly, I don't know. Seems like it's the most firm of the lot. However, you've got to understand a couple of things.
First off, I don't set release dates, particularly not on these books. I pick my deadlines, then work to meet them. Tor and Harriet decide when the book is going to come out, judging by editing requirements, market factors, and the workings of the publishing machine. I didn't find out this one had been set as this day until long after the fact. So please, complaining to me . . . well, it's just not going to do anything but distract me from working on the book.
Secondly, Harriet is very, VERY worried about getting this book right. It's the last book in the series. There are no chances to change things after this, and revising a book like this takes time. Harriet would probably prefer even more space than this publication date gives us. She also isn't capable of pulling the long hours she might once have pulled. (And she shouldn't be expected to.)
It's not all on Harriet, though, not by a mile. I turned in a 360,000-word book. That's 20% longer than what they wanted, and that means each step of editing and production will require 20% more time than they had set aside. In addition, while I've set my own deadlines, I've come right up against them and (in a few cases) tiptoed across. For example, instead of sending a revised book at the end of December, I only had a first draft. That's the length pushing me back and making me revise expectations.
I realize that all you care about is getting your book, and this sounds like a lot of excuses. But here's the thing. You'll get the book when Harriet is ready to give it to you. Not before. If this were just me, I could work a big pile of 16-hour days and get it to you in the fall. But it's not just me, and beyond that, the last time I did that (on TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, which went through eleven drafts) we ended up with a pile of typos and wore Harriet out so much she said she didn't recover for well over six months.
I sincerely thought that we'd be releasing the book this fall. January 8th was a surprise to me when they told me. However, Harriet picked the last possible week the book could reasonably come out, because she wants as much time as possible to edit it.
I still think it's very possible that all will go smoothly and Harriet will push the book up. It happened with TGS, I believe, though that was only pushed up by a week. However, for now, we just have to assume January 8th is when it's coming out.