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Kingmaker is a really good AP if you like to swing your own adventures and design your own stuff -- much of it is modular, so you can swap various encounters and dungeons out or in, you can add (or subtract) whole threads as to what's going on. You can do a LOT if it strikes your fancy.
1) figure out what kind of campaign your players like. Emphasize elements that swing that way, de-emphasize elements that don't. We ended up having a lot more interaction with the Swordlords than the AP envisions, which made for a much better campaign. For instance, the part where the Swordlords tried to use Vordakai's phylactery to enslave the lich to help them against the rest of Brevoy... still quite memorable.
2) Treat the kingdom-building rules as rough guidelines and encounter generators, not a system to try and game for maximum advantage. I got a lot of work out of that, mostly by looking at what the locals might want and what they weren't getting. Some players will love the idea of building and influencing their own kingdom and towns, but not everyone will. (Try getting one town per player -- suddenly a lot more interpersonal politics comes into effect if it's "my town" instead of "random village #4".)
3) You can change the ending if you want -- but whatever you do, foreshadow where you're going more heavily. If Nyrissa is involved, play up the fey element. If you want to turn this into a game of political warfare with Brevoy, you can do that too (whether or not Choral the Conqueror shows up at all). Or you could end it after book 5 if the players are happy at that point.
4) You can have additional elements -- for instance, one of my players wanted a Hellknight cohort. I had SO much fun with the interplay between the Hellknights trying to establish Law and (Terrified) Order, led by the cohort, and the priesthood of Erastil trying to get together a written lawcode for Law and (Traditional Village) Order. Work with what the players do, add themes, etc. -- this is an AP that really allows for this sort of thing to happen. (The PC who tried to establish an order of tiger-riding knights did not fare nearly so well, mostly because the other players were Not Happy with the idea...) I did a lot with Candlemere (a site just crying out for more use!) and it eventually became the Hellknight base.
5) Tie things together. If the PCs had a good interaction with an NPC in the previous books, let them live, and use them as a quest hook as much as possible. The mad alchemist in book 1 can be the guy delivering the "odd ingredient" quest hooks in book 3 or 4, and maybe he knows someone in Irovetti's court in book 5... Keep the number of NPCs under control that way.
6) If they're running with the kingdom rules, USE THOSE NPCS! Have the players roleplay recruiting them. Have them speak up for different goals (e.g., army vs. exploration vs. other stuff; locals vs. outlanders; etc.) Don't be afraid to have the particular appointee come to them with a quest hook that falls under their area of expertise, either!
7) Foreshadow the other Stolen Lands groups from the beginning -- Magnus Varn's fate means more if the PCs have previously met him, knowing that Baron Drelev is building stuff up in the West means the PCs are more aware of what it might mean when he attacks, etc., etc., etc.
8) Stop hex-by-hex exploration somewhere around level 10. By then the thrill is over (and PCs of that level should be having minions do this sort of thing anyway). Save your gaming time for fun additional dungeons suggested by the PCs' actions and choices during previous games.