I was first introduced to fantasy author George R. R. Martin in 2004 (well, his books, not him personally). I read the first three books in the Song of Ice and Fire series and waited quite impatiently for the release of Feast for Crows. I was not disappointed and blew through the behemoth in two days. I knew I had another wait on my hands, at least a year, so I bided my time reading other books, completing schoolwork, etc.
In 2007, after two years of waiting, I was still optimistic that I wouldn't have to wait much longer, so I signed up for an independent study class with my favorite professor focusing on GRRM himself. I read Windhaven, a project he completed with Lisa Tuttle, and my paper was about the process of co-writing and how it affects a book (I got an A, not to brag or anything).
2008 rolled around... then 2009... I believe it was in 2008 that Amazon first had Dance with Dragons up for pre-order, and of course, I signed up. I faithfully visited GRRM's website for updates (which were few and far between), and bemoaned the horrible wait with other fans. All the while, I kept seeing blog posts about this Con and that Con and the various travels he'd been on and so forth. Gritting my teeth, I re-read Game of Thrones in anticipation, trying to rekindle the fire of excitement that had slowly been dying.
When the "expected release date" came and went in 2010, I'd had enough. I cancelled my pre-order and stopped waiting. I realize George is a busy man. That is clearly evident from his blog, and he's pretty popular, so his fans want to see him. But his fans are only his fans because they love his work, which he seemed to put on the back burner in favor of other things.
As a reader, I can say I was irate at best. As a writer, I'm baffled. Six years is entirely too long between books in a series, even if they are massive creations. I completely understand someone taking six, ten, even twelve years to write a novel if they have a full-time job and family in addition.
But Martin gets paid to write. That is his job. He gets advances in expectation that he is going to turn out more work in a timely manner. Six years isn't timely. At least, not in my opinion. I can understand a year. That makes sense, especially with all that goes into a traditionally published book. Two years, I can forgive. Three is pushing it. Six is unacceptable.
It's a strange coincidence (or maybe not) that HBO's Game of Thrones miniseries came out in time to boost the excitement of the Song of Ice and Fire series, thus increasing his Dance with Dragons sales. I watched the first episode, and it does an excellent job of matching up with the book. But I'm trying very hard to not be pessimistic and think he pushed off the release of Dance with Dragons for so long to fall with the release of the miniseries. They've both been in the works for a very long time...
Anyhoo, conspiracy theories aside, Martin has abused his long-time fans. There are many who have been following this series from the beginning, and they suffered while waiting for Feast for Crows. I was lucky enough to miss that wait, but then he goes and does it again, adding an extra year onto it. I will not be waiting for his next book. In fact, I don't think I'll even be reading this book. I know I'd enjoy it if I did. And deep down, I really want to. But it makes me a bit ill thinking of giving him my money. I don't see the love for his fans that I'd expect from someone like him. Or maybe he has a great love for his fans and prefers to spend more time with them than writing the books they crave. Who knows. But either way, it doesn't sit right with me, so I will not be supporting him any longer. His fans deserve better.