Just talked to George, who is very very tired after a couple of days of hard work and schmoozing with book publishers, retailers and readers at the Expo.
He's had a great time though, and the response from everyone has been so positive and encouraging, he's raring to go on the polish and proofing he's got to do in the next 2 months.
The pub dates in the US and the UK are still not completely set. They can change depending on variables too obscure and insider to go into here. But as of yesterday, here's what he has been told by his publishers:
Bantam will be publishing the hardcover edition on November 8. At least, that when they told him yesterday. Let me once again emphasize that this date may change, we'll know more in a month or so, once every one sorts out their schedules for printing, publicity, and all the rest entailed in getting this novel out to the readers.
HarperCollinsUK has not yet determined their publication date.
I repeat, HarperCollinsUK has not yet set the UK edition publication date. Got that? Good. George hopes that we'll know that date in 2-4 weeks.
George was not able to talk to his producer in the audiobook division, so we don't know when the audiobook will be released. First they have to find Roy Dotrice who might be off acting in New Zealand or on stage at the West End for all we know, and get on his schedule. But my hope is that since Bantam is going for a later pub date, that production of the audiobooks will be complete and will be released about the same time as the hardcover.
Haven't heard from the Australian publisher yet, so we have no idea what their plans are.
As for non-English editions, once we hear from those folks, we'll let you know on GRRM's web site. He is trying to shorten the time it takes to get foreign langauge editions in print by providing the publishers/translators with the proofed gallies directly when possible.
Right now, the Bantam publicity department is beginning to plan George's US tour based on a November 8 pub date. It will be at least 2 weeks long, and will most likely include cities like LA, the SF Bay area, Vancouver BC, a couple of cities in Ohio, and even New York City at a Barnes and Noble. If you work in a book store, or have the ear of a book retailer, and want George to come to your store, then NOW is the time to contact the Bantam publicity department and ask what the criteria are for arranging a visit by George. As you might know, George really likes to sign in independent and speciality SF stores, so if you are a regular customer at your friendly local SF shop, you might want to give them a heads up. Beyond the basics I've just given you, we don't know where and when he'll be appearing at US bookstores, and won't until just before the tour begins in November. I'm just hoping that he'll be home in time to carve the turkey on Thanksgiving.
So, let's recap, just make sure everyone understands what I'm telling you and there's no room for rumours and speculation.
US Bantam edition release date is currently set for November 8, 2005. George will do a US tour in November, lasting at least 2 weeks. We do not have information on the tour dates or cities yet.
HarperCollinsUK has not yet set their release date. We hope to have that date in 2-4 weeks from now. Again, HarperCollinsUK has not yet set their release date.
As far as publication dates for the rest of the world, the release of the audibooks or any other tours in the UK, Australia or Europe, we do not have any information we can share with you at this time.
As always, the best places to check for updates with solid information about what's going on with GRRM are on his web site, Ran's most excellent Westeros.org, and here amongst the Bros.
So thanks to everyone for your patience and understanding, this has been a long hard five years for George, and I hope you'll understand that we both are looking forward to a break once he hands over the completed and proofed gallies to his publishers in a couple of months. But we'll always appreciate the support and enthusiasm of his readers, and thank you for the many kindnesses and gifts of friendship you give us.