Now that I have run two groups through both the intro 1-3rd level and half of the 3rd chapter I have some tips for smooth play.
Make sure to assign either party wide adventure hooks or individual player hooks before starting the game. Hooks provided on page 12 make the party far more engaged and directed in their explorations. Without these hooks its easy for the party to wander off somewhere on the map and be unable to find much other than random encounters.
Make sure to pay attention to the Side quests on page 160 and their appropriate levels. Anytime the party seems to loose direction or focus spring one of those on them.
The Reprisals on page 45 are perfect for directing the party toward a potential adventure source.
In red larch it can be difficult to find specific info the party is looking for by page flipping so be sure to read over the whole towns description and make some notes about who is in what faction.
EG Harpers : Endrith Vallivoe area 22 note page 20 and 29
In random encounters be sure to notice the chart is 1d8 + 1d12 not 2d10. P 30
One of my parties got totally focused on trying to track down the missing dwarven envoy but really the first few chapters dont really deal with it directly. This can lead to many frustrating sessions of the party being unable to find information because you the GM cant find anything really dealing with it. Be sure to spring encounters and hints about adventure sites often.
While its not specifically detailed out as an area I suggest expanding on the mention made in page 40. The delegations ambush point can give more clues.
As for factions a great way to get started off is to have the players read the factions on the wizards website and affiliate to a faction before game starts.
Its hidden fairly well on the website so here is a link