Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Off To BEA

I'll be slightly less present on the website this week as I'll be in New York at BEA.  If you happen to be a bookseller or literacy professional, I'll be signing on Saturday in the ABA lounge from 10:30-11:000  with a formal signing in the main autographing area from 3:30-4:30 on the same day.  (For those who don't know, BEA is the big book trade show.  Kind of like E3 for books.)

Those signings will be for Warbreaker.  I'll be doing some events for THE GATHERING STORM as well, primarily an ABA luncheon on Friday and an appearance at the Editor's Buzz Stage at 3:30 on Friday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Warbreaker Signed and Numbered Copies

All right!  I've finally got news on the release of Warbreaker this June.  The official date is indeed June 9th, a Tuesday.  Like last year, there will be two ways to get yourself a signed/numbered copy.  Though first off, I do want to give a shout out to your local booksellers.  People often ask me what helps me the most when buying a book.  Well, that really shouldn't be a concern of yours--mostly, I just want you to enjoy the book in whatever form you like. 

But if you do think about these things, the best way you can support the book is to buy it opening week at your local bookseller.  First week sales are a huge indicator for booksellers of how well a book is going to do, and everyone is expecting a lot from this book, considering the reviews and the success of the Mistborn books.  (I hope not to let them down; I still do worry that a stand-alone book I gave away for free on my website won't have the draw of the highly-anticipated third book of a trilogy.  Fingers crossed!)

Anyway, here are the ways to get yourself a numbered copy: 

1)  Come to the release party at the BYU Bookstore. 
2)  Order a copy through Sam Weller's, Salt Lake's long time independent bookseller. 

We'll be changing how things work in both cases, hopefully for the better.  If you came to the BYU event last year and were daunted by the long line, know that we'll be taking steps to fix that.  And if you got your Sam Weller book a little bit later than you would have wished, we're working on that too.  So, read below in the separate sections for detailed information on how each method is going to work.


In order to make the line move more quickly, I am going to go in early and SIGN and NUMBER all of the books in stock.  The numbered copies will be handed out in numerical order.  So, if you don't want to wait in a huge line for a personalization, you can simply grab yourself a copy, take it to any register and buy it, then walk out.  Should be quick and easy. 

I'll be sitting and personalizing.  We'll call people up in groups by number, and should have a schedule of when we'll be calling given groups of numbers.  So, if you want a personalization, you can look at when I'll be doing the block of numbers that aligns with your own copy, then take off and come back at that time. 

All of this means that, hopefully, there will be minimal waiting.  Everyone who wants a personalized copy can hang around and get their name in the book and chat with me.  If all you want is a signature and a number, you'll be able to snag one and take off--and can even get it personalized at another signing down the road.

The date of this will be the day of the book's release, the time 5-8pm.  The books will be handed out in order, already signed in numbered, at 5:00.  They'll just go down the line and give each person a book, then you can go buy it at whatever register you want, then come back at the time when I'm personalizing your number if you want it personalized. 

The numbering is going to happen by alternating 100's between the two methods of getting a numbered copy.  IE, the BYU signing gets 2-100, the Sam Weller's mail orders get 101-200, BYU gets 201-300, etc.  Number one goes to my friend Scott, who was the one who (way back when) donated to charity to get his name in this book (Llarimar is based off of him.)  Dan Wells gets number 7 (it's a running thing we have--he got #1 of my first book, I got #1 of his first book, he got #2 of my second book, etc.)  Other than that, all numbers are up for grabs in order of when you arrive at the signing or call Sam Weller's. 

The release party at BYU will have prizes, just like last year.  Probably some Mistborn jewelry and some rare copies of things, like advance manuscripts and the like of my work.  I'll blog more when this is settled.


This is intended primarily for those who DON'T live in Utah.  If you can't make it at all to the BYU signing, then feel free to use Sam Weller's, particularly if you want to do in-store pick-up with them.  But I mostly want these copies reserved for those out of state/country who want numbered editions.  It's something I do for them, since I always have my release party in Utah. 

The details, from Catherine Weller herself, are:

We will discount the book at 20% again.
This puts the cover price at $22.36, tax and shipping not included.
The breakdown of pricing is as follows:
In-store pick up $23.89
In-state shipping $29.89
U.S. shipping (not Utah) $28.36
Canada & Mexico $34.36
Other International $36.36

We will once again be using USPS priority mail. It's quicker than UPS for the Continental U.S. and cheaper. Priority mail is also more affordable for International shipping. It's not trackable, but our lost/damaged shipment rate was a bit below 5%, we consider that very good.

Customers will need to contact us via email, fax or phone.
To confirm, they are:
(801) 595-0051. fax
(801) 328-2586, phone

Because we didn't like it that many people got their books several days after release, the plan is for me to go in on Saturday the week before and sign/number/personalize the Sam Weller mail copies.  They'll then get shipped Saturday or Monday, for arrival starting a few days earlier than last year.  (Though most people still will probably get their books a few days after release this way, it shouldn't be as long as a wait.)

Again, I do ask that if you live in Utah--particularly Utah valley--you make an effort to go to the release party.  Sam Weller's only has about 300 copies for mail order right now, and I'd like those to go to people who can't just drop by and pick up a numbered copy at the release.  Also, it would be kind of a drag if we planned this whole release party, then didn't have anyone show up.  ;) 

Many of you are probably wondering if we're going to do anything like this for the Wheel of Time book releases.  Well, we'll see.  I'm working on some things, but I can't promise anything.  I WILL probably be doing something in Charleston the day of the book release, and perhaps a midnight party at BYU the night before.  (With a long plane ride between, obviously.)  I don't know if we'll do numbered copies or not.  Tor has a history of releasing special numbered editions of the WoT books, so I don't want to mess that up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Two Interviews

I've done two interviews recently.  There's not much new information in them for those who read the blog regularly--pretty much me answering questions I've answered before.  But I thought I'd post them for you in case you're interested.  ONETWO.

Let's see...other fun news.  Tour schedule is coming together for the year.  Nothing is set yet, but there's a good chance for THE GATHERING STORM that I'll be doing a midnight party here in Utah, then fly and do a 'day of' release party in Charleston.  After that, I'll be off to haunt the usual suspects.  New York, DC, Portland, Seattle, LA.  I AM trying to throw in a few places I've never been before, just like every year, but I can't go everywhere.  (Not and still have time to write, at least.)  I've asked to be sent to Arizona and Minneapolis, both places I've never gone before, as well as a few more places that I don't want to mention as I don't want to get hopes up.

For WARBREAKER, I'll pretty much just be doing local signings for now.  I didn't want to tour in June, then do it again in November.  It's just too exhausting, and I've got too much to work on right now.  So expect Utah events for Warbreaker (including a release party.)  Yes, Sam Weller's will be doing signed editions mailed to those outside of Utah, just like we did with Mistborn Three.  (Still not sure if this will happen for TGS or not.)  I should have details for you by the end of the week on both the release party and the Signed/numbered editions you can order from Sam Weller's. 

I'm hard at work and neck deep in revisions and writing.  Copyedits for TGS are going to be hitting soon, so that will distract me for a little while, but the progress bars should inch up here at a good rate this week. 

I still need to do a post about Alcatraz being in the store.  Working on it.... (Also, we should soon have a Shopping Cart for the store, which will be very nice.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Gathering Storm Cover Art

It's here, and I'm free to post it. 


My thoughts?  I like it a lot better than the sketch that was floating around.  I like how he covered the stump of the arm with the cloth; I was wondering how that would be painted without looking very strange.  It's also very odd to see my name beneath Mr. Jordan's in front of a Darrell Sweet cover.  I wonder if that will ever NOT feel strange.

Dragonmount has this posted too; I assume there will be a lively discussion there, if you're looking to talk to other fans about it. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Baffled Editor

I got an call from my editor, sounding quite befuddled, last week.  You see, we've been in negotiations for THE WAY OF KINGS, and it appears Tom (CEO of TOR) discovered the fake WAY OF KINGS Amazon page and was completely dumbfounded at how it got there.  They were very amused at the explanation (that it's been there for years, ever since Amazon somehow got wind that I had signed my original contract with Tor to include it.  They never deleted the entry after I pulled the project in favor of MISTBORN.)  Somebody needs to make sure to archive all of those reviews--I'm going to try to preserve this page once THE WAY OF KINGS really comes out.  (Perhaps we can tell Amazon that this is the 'unabridged edition' or something so they'll leave the page.)  But I can't promise anything.

Anyway, on a more serious note, negotiations for KINGS are essentially done (though there is still some discussion of audio rights) so we should have an official announcement floating around here fairly soon.  Four books to start.  We'll see where the series goes.  I still intend to end up alternating two KINGS books (the series is probably going to be called THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE, though my editor isn't sold on that yet) with other projects, like WARBREAKER 2 or another book in the ELANTRIS world.  Perhaps I'll finally get to write THE SILENCE DIVINE, which I've been toying with for years, but haven't had the time to write.  Anyway, I'll now owe Tor three of those 'stand alone' style books and four Way of Kings books.  And that's all, of course, secondary to the work on the Wheel of Time.  (I'm currently tweaking the outline for the second chunk of the three.)  Needless to say, I'll be busy.

However, it's not the kind of business that you have to worry about.  I LIKE doing this.  Quite a bit.  I do make sure to take plenty of time for my family (generally, 5-7 is family time, with an occasional movie or other event during the week as well.)  I did drop out of my role-playing group and my writing groups in order to get more time for The Wheel of Time these last few months, but I intend to ease back into some of that this summer.  (Role playing every other week, doing only one writing group instead of two.)  But remember this any time any of us authors try to impress you with how much time we've been spending--we do it to ourselves, and we really enjoy it.  Now, I don't really look forward to the weeks when I spend sixty or seventy+ hours editing.  Those...well, those aren't much fun.  But most of the time, the fifty or sixty hours a week spent writing are quite fun.  As my wife says, writing is my job AND my hobby.  I would generally rather be working on one of my books as opposed to sitting in front of the television. 

In general--except during crazy months like March/April this year--my rule of thumb is that I do a normal eight hour day, and then can call it quits if other things are happening.  If nothing pressing is going on (there aren't any dinners, family events, or Pemberly time that needs doing) then I can go back to work after dinner and after Limebaby is in bed.  It works for me.  I am aware of the danger of creative types burning themselves out, however, and I'll keep an eye on it.  Thanks to those of you who have emailed me with concern, however.  I'll be careful. 

I feel the need to give a couple of huzzah moments to writing buddies.  Pat has turned in the sequel to THE NAME OF THE WIND.  That, AND he's going to be a father in the coming months.  So a hearty congrats to him for general awesomeness. Now I just have to figure out how to get Pat and DAW to give me an ARC of that monster of a manuscript.

Also, Toby Buckell just hit the three year mark doing this full time.  Nice work!  May the next thirty go even better for you, sir.  (And if you haven't tried his work, you're missing out.)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Another Long-Winded Explanation of Various Things

A few quick items.  Hero of Ages has won the Romantic Times editor's choice award.  Huzzah!  I wasn't certain if I could announce this, but it looks like the magazine has shipped, so I think I can say it now.  I'm deeply honored.  The Romantic Times has done a very good job reaching across genre lines and honoring books they think deserve praise, regardless of their genre. 

In similar news, I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but HERO has also been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award.  This is an honor for two reasons--first, because Mr. Gemmell himself was such a fantastic author.  But also because this is a reader-voted award, which means that you all took the time to stop by and give me a nominating vote.  That means a lot to me.  Thank you so much!  I believe that the final winner is also chosen by a vote from readers, so if you feel so inclined, you can vote for HERO to win.  You don't even have to register to do so. 

Finally, I have a small stock of copies of the ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS hardcover on hand, and that is getting hard to find in stores, so I thought I'd offer them for sale and personalization.  I'll probably do another post on this later, going more in-depth, but if you haven't tried ALCATRAZ, this would be the perfect chance. 

All right.  I've had a few weeks to rest after the marathon working of Feb, March, and early April.  So, it's time to start thinking about the future.  THE GATHERING STORM is turned in.  (Quick answers on two questions:  First, I don't know if there will be an electronic copy released.  Tor doesn't own electronic rights, these belong to Harriet, and I don't know what she and her agent have decided yet.  Second, there should be an audiobook released, very close to the initial release of the hardcover.)  With TGS done, it's time to look at the projects on my plate.

PROJECT ONE:  AMOL PART TWO (The working title is SHIFTING WINDS, which WILL change.)

I've gone ahead and added a progress bar for this one.  As I've said before, I've got a large chunk of it written--but that writing needs quite a bit of work.  I pulled a lot of the cleanest , finished sections to use in THE GATHERING STORM.  The progress bar says 49% completed, but I'd actually put that closer to 25%, if we look at work to be done and not just raw pagecount.

Obviously, SHIFTING WINDS is the most important project for me to finish.  It will be getting the largest share of my attention during the next year, and I'm going to do everything in my power to turn it in a little earlier than the previous book, perhaps even allowing for a release earlier next year than November.  (I don't know if getting it in early will help that or not, but I'll try.)  My self-imposed goal for finishing WINDS is November 3rd, so I'll have the rough draft done and turned in before I leave on tour. 


I committed to Scholastic for four books, and I will need to (sometime) think about writing the final volume.  Book Three is turned in and coming out this fall.  Usually, I write these two years ahead.  So I turned in Book Three in fall of 2007, then didn't turn one in Fall of 2008, since I was working so hard on AMOL.  But I hate not doing what I say I'll do, and I will need to write this book sometime.  Scholastic probably won't start bugging me about it until July or August.  But it will have to be turned in by the end of the year or I'll be in breach of contract. 

So just a warning to all of you WoT fans out there--I'm sorry, I've put ALCATRAZ off for much longer than I should.  You'll see me take a break this fall for a month or so and work on the final Alcatraz book.  My goal is to be writing this in September/October when(hopefully) I will have a rough draft done of SHIFTING WINDS.  That way, I can work on new Alcatraz material while using the other half of my brain for editing on WoT.  This shouldn't be a problem at all.  Normally, I'm working on two books at once--I'll be writing new material on one, then will be editing another.  Writing and editing take different types of attention, and I can usually only write new material for four to six hours a day.  I can use the other hours for revisions on another book. 


Many of you have asked about this book.  It is a very nifty gearpunk young adult book I wrote in spring of 2007, before the WoT came my way.  Unfortunately, I can't justify spending time on it while I've got A MEMORY OF LIGHT to finish.  People have been waiting too long for AMOL, and now that it's three volumes, I need to make sure I don't delay those volumes.  To those of you who were looking forward to SCRIBBLER, I'm sorry!


Another Young Adult book I was working on.  It's about half finished, and hasn't been looked at since I was asked to finish the WOT.  See the above explanation.  This one's not coming anytime soon. 


This was the book I was working on for a 2010 release.  Epic fantasy.  I wrote it in 2007, then put it aside when the WoT was offered to me.

Frankly, I was never pleased with how this book turned out.  It was a rough, rough draft--and though I finished it, it wasn't really ever 'finished.'  I've tossed it back into the wood chipper of my brain.  I can do better, and I just can't ask you to buy this book, as I don't feel satisfied with it.  I could revise it, but that would take about six months of work--delaying the second WoT book for six months.  That's unacceptable, particularly for a book I feel so unsatisfied with.  You'll get a revision of this someday, perhaps.


Maybe someday.  Time isn't right for any of them, I'm afraid.  You'll see some of them in the future, though, and will probably get some MISTBORN short stories sometime this year.

So, that's it, right?  I think I've talked about everything.  Now, some of you may be wondering what this means.  Is there going to be no solo Brandon Sanderson book released in 2010? 

Well, maybe.

As early as last summer, Tom Doherty began asking me if there was any way I could get Tor a novel for a 2010 release.  He doesn't like going years without releases, and he worried that my readers would feel dropped in favor of the Wheel of Time readers.  Plus, he really wants to see something more from me. 

When he first mentioned it, I laughed.  He was asking me, essentially, to finish the entire Wheel of Time book by spring of 2009, then write him a solo book by fall 2009.  Even then, I knew it wasn't going to happen.  AMOL was too big a project. 

However, now that AMOL has been split, Tom has asked more and more often about getting a Brandon Sanderson solo book to release between the WoT books.  He's very worried about there being a period of three years during which I don't release anything of my own.  And so, with his questions, he got me thinking.  Was there anything I would feel comfortable releasing?  LIAR turned out poorly, SCRIBBLER isn't epic enough, WARBREAKER 2 isn't written.  What else is there?

The answer was simple.  THE WAY OF KINGS.

The Way of Kings was the book I had just finished when I first got offered a book deal for ELANTRIS. I originally signed a deal for ELANTRIS and for KINGS.  (And because of that, you can still find an Amazon entry for KINGS--which has some amusing reviews posted by readers with too much time on their hands.  Note that the book was never released, so these are all just made-up amusing reviews.) 

Yes, the original contract was for KINGS--but I decided that KINGS needed to be put off.  KINGS is a great book, perhaps the best I've ever written.  But it just didn't FEEL right to release after ELANTRIS.  THE WAY OF KINGS is a massive war epic of legends, mythology, and magical revolution.  It's intricate, complex, and was a bit daunting for me when I thought about readying it for publication.  Just to give you an idea, MISTBORN has three magic systems, KINGS has well over twenty.  MISTBORN has six main viewpoint characters across the trilogy; KINGS has dozens.  I wrote about 30k of background material for MISTBORN.  Background material for KINGS is over 300k. 

Difference in scope is only one of the reasons KINGS wasn't the right follow-up to ELANTRIS.  After a stand-alone novel, I felt that I wanted to publish a trilogy, perhaps two, before I offered my readers the first of a big, multi-volume epic.  I also worried that the initial draft of KINGS just wasn't good enough--because my skill wasn't up to making it good enough.

Working on the WHEEL OF TIME has forced me to grow immensely as a writer, however. Over the last year, the more I thought about it, the more I itched to dive in and do a revision of THE WAY OF KINGS.  If I could effectively use all I've learned, I might be able to make the book become what I want it to be.  And so, I told Tom about KINGS, and he eagerly offered me a new contract for it.  I've warned him that it might not be ready in time to come out next year, but I'm going to give it a try.

KINGS needs a solid rewrite.  I've been tweaking it over the years, worldbuilding the setting and so forth.  I've been planning, working on, and revising this book for eight years .  I think that if I do a rewrite now with my current writing abilities, it would turn out very, very well. 


The thing is, I can't be certain.  Maybe it won't work as I want.  Maybe I will just have too many things on my mind.  Maybe I'm not up to doing this book yet.  But, because of the pleading of Tom, my readers, and (most importantly) my own heart, I'm going to give it a try.

As I said above, writing and revising take different parts of the brain.  I can only write new material for a certain number of hours a day, usually around four or six.  But I can revise all day long.  Perhaps it's the difference between mental heavy lifting and mental long-distance running.  Either way, in order to give this a try, I've hired a full-time assistant, Peter Ahlstrom, to do all the things in a day that normally take my time away from writing/revising.  Usually, when I'm not revising, the 'non-writing' hours of the day are spent doing all kinds of tasks associated with being self-employed.  Peter is going to be handling all of this, theoretically freeing up a few hours each day during which I can revise THE WAY OF KINGS.

This will not take my time away from writing SHIFTING WINDS.  If it starts to look like it will delay that book, I will stop working on KINGS--not because of any criticism I may get from readers, but because I feel a debt to Mr. Jordan and this project I have agreed to do.  I like to keep my promises. 

I explain all this because I want you WoT readers to understand that I do have a life beyond the Wheel of Time.  I have obligations, both to publishers and to myself.  I feel very strongly that the time has come for me to show readers what I've been working on behind the scenes for many years.  And so, on my blog I will spend time talking about projects other than the WHEEL OF TIME. 

I like to be open.  I like you to be able to see what I'm doing, and so I feel I should be up-front with you about what I plan.  I've shelved a lot of books for THE WHEEL OF TIME, and rightly so.  But there are two projects I WILL be spending time on this year--Alcatraz 4 and THE WAY OF KINGS.  I plan to add progress bars for each of them, and link the titles here so those who come to my site later can read this explanation. 

Sorry to be long winded...again.  Occupational hazard. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Reader Mail (Regarding TGS Pub Date)

I'm back!  Thank you to everyone who came to see me in Nebraska.  I had a great time.  It was surreal to visit my old high school and elementary school as an author, presenting for the students.  At East, I was given a distinguished alumnus award, which was very humbling.  Pemberly should have pictures for me to post here soon, mostly just pictures of me doing nostalgic Nebraska things, like eating at Runza.

Anyway, I wanted to do a good post for you all today, so I thought I'd answer an interesting Reader Mail piece.  I'm still working on a post talking about AMOL: Book Two and THE WAY OF KINGS.  I hope to have a draft of that I;'m satisfied with here soon.  Anyway, the reader mail:

I know that you have all but finished TGS, and this may sound like a stupid question, but will it really take until November for TOR to finalize, print and publish this book? Could TOR release it earlier or is November a set timetable? Thank you for your time.


Well, Jeffrey, I can understand where you're coming from.  It does seem like a very long time, particularly when you hear that for most books, it's far, far longer.  What's happening during all of that time?  Well, a number of things.

First off, the books have to get printed.  Often, this is done overseas and shipped here--and usually that shipping has to be a slow method for cost reasons.  Tor can't really afford to airlift all of those thick WoT books from China, not unless they want to charge and extra twenty bucks per book.... 

I honestly don't know if Tor prints these specific books overseas.  Some big houses have their own printers, but a lot do it this way.  Either way, keep the printing in mind when you consider the time it takes to publish.  Even if the printing is done here, it takes time--imagine printing a million copies of a hardcover book.  It's not something that happens overnight.

However, before the book can be printed, time needs to be copyedited.  A copyeditor is a person who reads through the entire book in very minute detail, making certain all of the proper terms are italicized, making certain the names are all spelled right, and that the book is consistent with itself and others in the series.  This takes a while.  Plus, once the copyeditor has made all of these changes and fixes, someone needs to go through them (usually, it's the author, though in many WoT books it's Maria) and make certain that they are all good changes.  Together, this can take several months.  I don't know if the WoT book will be faster; we'll see.

After that, there's proofreading.  We have to allocate time for the proofreaders to go through and do their job.  That adds on another few weeks.  Trust me.  You don't want an unproofed book.  Some might complain about the number of typos in the books that get printed; imagine how it would be if you had to read one that hadn't gone through this process. 

So, we've got copyediting and proofreading.  Let's say that takes us two months, since we're rushing things.  And let's say, for sake of argument, that printing takes one month.  The book was turned in mid April, so why not release the book in July?  Well, that would probably be the absolute fastest Tor could get the book out, but there are a lot of other factors to consider.

One is the bookstores.  You see, with books like this, bookstores tend to be timid because they've often been promised books that never materialize.  (Or ones that take years past when they were promised to actually get published.)  And so, booksellers aren't going to make any orders on the book until they're sure that the book will be published.  Now that the book is in, the Tor sales force has to go to the big chains and the independents and say "It's coming out!  For real this time! many copies do you want to order?"

This is very important.  You see, no book gets printed until the publisher knows how many are being ordered.  In general, announced 'print runs' in publicity materials are a fancy, impressive, yet very imaginary numbers.  Nobody knows how big the print run will ACTUALLY be until the bookstores all put in their orders.  The publisher will look at those orders and extrapolate sales.  THEN they'll print.  So we have to wait for the big chains, at least, to commit to ordering the book, see how many they order, then print somewhere around twice that number.  (From what I've seen, printing double the number ordered is the rule of thumb, though the WoT book may be different.) 

I should give the caveat that I'm not an expert on any of this.  What I'm writing is not, by any means, meant to be a detailed exploration of the publishing industry.  It's just what I've noticed (perhaps inaccurately at points) from watching on the sidelines. 

Okay, so let's add on a month for the bookstores.  We're now in August (best case.)  That's still three months off of October.  What's the hold up?

First off, there's the fact that Tor announced that date--trying to be conservative--not knowing for certain if I'd even turn the book in on time.  There's a lot of momentum behind that announcement, and changing it would take a lot of effort.  It can--and does--happen.  But in this case, it's good to have those extra months.  You see, we haven't even talked about publicity and marketing.  Only now (with the book in) will it be safe for Tor to start spending marketing and publicity money.  Those of you checking these websites and watching Dragonmount are the 'in the know' readers--the hardcore.  However, the vast majority of readers don't do that.  They don't know that the WoT book is coming out this year.  It's time for Tor to start publicizing that it IS coming out.  And they don't have very long to do it.

Beyond that, when Tor announced and 'staked claim' to November 3rd, you can bet that other publishers made certain to stay away from releasing other big books that day.  Just like movies try not to compete with others that are too similar, moving their release dates around, books try to keep from competing too directly.  So if Tor began shuffling now, it would cause a lot of people to get very angry. 

There are other factors too.  November is the biggest month for a book release, as it maximizes on the holiday season.  Also, we'd like time for people in-house at Tor to read the book and see if they catch any errors or continuity problems that we didn't spot.  There has to be time for the publicist to set up a book tour.  There has to be time to get the interior art (maps, chapter ornaments) finished.  The cover art isn't done yet either.  All of these things take time.

The WoT book COULD probably come out as soon as August, but it would be a big rush job.  Better to give Tor the extra few months to make the book as good as possible.  I know it's hard to wait, but at least you can rest easily that the book IS coming, and from here, there's virtually no chance of it being delayed past November.  Here, that publicity, marketing, and bookstore momentum will work in your favor to keep the pressure on Tor and keep any delays from getting the book pushed back.