With all of the specialized magazines out there, you'd think that finding 15 markets for my personal essay would be a breeze. As it turned out, it wasn't so much a breeze as a small puff of air. Expelled by a 90-year old. With chronic asthma.
Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit! But, I did expect to find more than six publications that fit my essay when I sat down with a 10-pound volume of Writer's Market 2008 and a spreadsheet of publications that I've been collecting over the years. Part of the problem is that my article has already been published. Right there, some of the markets were cut out, since some only take unpublished material. Then there was the theme: stress and life balance. I think it's a pretty good one for women's magazines, but several of them only wanted personal experience essays that had to do with relationships.
In the end, I had more luck by typing 'personal essay markets' into a search engine. That brought me to lists of markets that I could scan through quickly, which listed a broader range of topics. And, it took a quarter of the time.
Paging through Writer's Market was a good source of inspiration, and led me to a few markets I wouldn't have found through a search engine. I think that's a good place to go if I want to target a publication, and then write an article for it. But having already written the article, I found the online search to be easier.